The sole survivor of the horror two-car crash that killed seven people has apologised for the "poor choices" that led to the crash.

The coroner's hearing into the one of New Zealand's deadliest car crashes was held today in Whanganui.

Seven people died in the crash on State Highway 3 just outside of the Taranaki town of Waverley on June 27 last year.

The inquest heard one of the drivers involved had consumed synthetic cannabis that day, and the sole survivor - who lost her partner and two daughters - says she cannot remember the crash because she was "synnied out".


Ian Porteous, 80, his wife Rosalie, 76, his sister Ora Keene, 84, and friend Brenda Williams, 79, were travelling in one vehicle and died at the scene.

Ani Nohinohi was the sole survivor of the other car involved, and suffered extensive injuries. Her partner Jeremy Thompson, 28, her daughter Nivek Madams, 8, and eight-week-old daughter Shady Thompson died.

Nohinohi wrote a statement that support person Joy Clark read to today's inquest.

"I am very sorry about the tragic outcome for so many families and friends of all of the people who died as the result of the accident on June 27 2018.

"Because of some poor choices seven people lost their lives. I am so sorry for all who are suffering.

"I am grateful to the many people who worked so hard to save my life.

"I live not just with physical pain and a brain injury but also with the loss of my beautiful girls Nivek and Shady. I have wanted to join them in Heaven many times but I cannot put my family and friends through more pain.

"Again, I am very sorry about what has happened. I think about everyone who died and of my own losses and everyone who is now sad."


Innocent victims' son to fight for drugged driver testing

The son of two elderly people killed in a horror two-car crash caused by a driver high on synthetic drugs says his family will "fight" for better testing of drugged drivers.

The officer in charge of the incident, Detective Karl Reyland, said Thompson had smoked more than three cones of synthetic cannabis on the morning of the fatal crash.

He also smoked more when their car stopped at a McDonald's before the crash.

The car he was driving crossed the centre line and caused the crash, the inquest was told.

Jeremy Thompson had repeatedly consumed synthetic cannabis the day he caused the crash that killed him and six others.
Jeremy Thompson had repeatedly consumed synthetic cannabis the day he caused the crash that killed him and six others.

Outside court Logan Porteous, son of Ian and Rosalie Porteous, said he wanted to see more support for police to test for drug driving.

"It's not our roads causing out road toll as much as the drivers," he said.

"We will as a family fight for this in the name of the innocent people who were killed in this accident, as a result of a driver under the influence of drugs."

Porteous said he had watched how quickly laws could be changed after the mosque shootings.

"We've seen after the events in Christchurch how quickly laws can be changed in this country, so it can be done again, it's up to the politicians."

Porteous said he was completely numb after hearing police say the crash was caused by a drugged driver.

"To be honest right now the grief hasn't hit me, it's just something you have to deal with."

He said the crash was absolutely avoidable.

"Everyone has a choice to either drink, or in this situation, take drugs then get in a car."

Porteous said the last 11 months since losing his parents in the crash has been hard and that he had got quite angry at times.

"I thought there was a lack of admission of their fault, simple as that,

"The whole day we probably have received some closure, but a little lack of closure as well.

"It does not make sense that the police are not in a position where they can randomly drug test drivers on the road.

"I'm from Melbourne where it's commonplace there, so why can't it be brought in here?"

Seven people died in the two-car crash.
Seven people died in the two-car crash.

The public gallery at today's inquest was full with more than 40 friends and family of those lost in the crash.

The detective said Thompson was on his learner's licence and had more than 100 demerit points to his name.

Reyland said the vehicle stopped in Hawera and Thompson smoked more synthetic cannabis before ordering McDonald's. The inquest heard Thompson was slurring his words and making "inexplicable" changes to his food order.

He said shortly after while heading south on State Highway 3, Thompson had lost control of the vehicle, crossed the centreline and collided with the other vehicle involved in the crash.

An autopsy revealed the presence of the drugs Ketamine, Fentanyl and Rocuronium in Thompson's blood.

Reylands said it was likely that all of these drugs were administered to Thompson by
medical personnel, but that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was also detected in the urine.

Nohinohi limped to the witness box to give her statement, which was read out by a police officer.

She admitted she had also consumed synthetic cannabis that day and could not remember anything after stopping in Hawera to buy more drugs.

They were heading to see Nivek's father, Kevin Madams, in Rimutaka Prison. Madams is watching today's inquest evidence via A/V link from prison.

"I think it is quite likely that I had fallen asleep because I had been 'synnied out'," Nohinohi's statement said.

Nohinohi had synthetics in the car, but none was smoked because of the two children also inside the vehicle.

While in Hawera the family stopped at a park near where they picked up bags of synthetic cannabis and to let Nivek play.

Nohinohi and Thompson then continued smoking the drug.

Questioned, by Logan Porteous, son of Ian and Rosalie, Nohinohi confirmed that she knew Thompson had consumed synthetic cannabis before driving - but she was "wasted" herself.

When Porteous asked if she realised the impact the fatal crash had on the families involved she broke down.

Nohinohi told the coroner that she thought her partner was OK to drive because he had smoked synthetic cannabis before and then driven.

The McDonald's worker was not in court to give her statement so it was read out by Senior Constable Mark Stoud.

Stoud said the witness had observed the car smelt of cannabis and that she saw Nohinohi putting a material into a pipe and smoking it.