The sole survivor of Sunday's highway tragedy northwest of Taupo has been discharged from hospital in time to join the tangihanga for his parents and five siblings at a Hawke's Bay marae.
David Poutawa, 9, was discharged from Hawke's Bay Hospital in Hastings yesterday, Hawke's Bay District Health Board media staff said.
His discharge came a few hours ahead of the overnight return of the remains of his parents David Poutawa, 42, and Margaret Luke, 35, which arrived early this morning at Timikara Marae, Moteo, along with those of his siblings Trinity, 13, Chanley, 11, Jahnero, 10, Akacia, 8, and Khuys, 7.
All the children had been pupils at Puketapu School, near Moteo, before their recent move to the Waikato town of Tokoroa, along with eldest brother Legacy, 12, who was at home with his grandmother at the time of the head-on crash.
It happened on State Highway 1 between Wairakei and Atiamuri about 10.30am on Sunday, and also killed the driver of the sole oncoming vehicle, Jenny Rogers, 51, of Lower Hutt.
The remains of the deceased arrived at Timikara about 1am in a fleet of vehicles, and those present respected whānau and marae requests that mobile phones and cameras not be used during the homecoming.
Hundreds are expected to be hosted at Timikara and the nearby Moteo and Wharerangi marae as the family prepares for the final service at Timikara on Saturday, starting at 11am, followed by burial at the local urupā.
A Givealittle page established by Simplicity Bereavement Services to support the family had over $13,000 committed by midday today.
Police continue a crash investigation, having earlier this week said there were no known direct witnesses.