Nine days on from the crash that killed five Chinese nationals near Rotorua saw the Chinese ambassador to New Zealand back in Rotorua today to say thank you. Her Excellency Wu Xi arrived this morning to provide her support for the victims, but also to hold a small ceremony for the volunteers who did their bit. Reporter Caroline Fleming went down to find out more.
The Chinese ambassador made her second visit to the city today to support "emotionally traumatised" victims and families of the fatal bus crash near Rotorua last week.
Her visit also focused heavily on personally thanking the local community which jumped into action in the wake of the tragedy.
Five people died and two people were seriously hurt when the tourist bus they were in rolled in bad weather on State Highway 5 at Ngātira last Wednesday.
Twenty-seven people were on the bus at the time of the crash.
Chinese ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi said she had chosen to visit as today marked the Mid-Autumn Festival in China, which was a widely celebrated reunion festival.
The festival celebrated the reaping of rice and wheat with food offerings made in honour of the moon and was a day for friends and family to meet.
Xi said it was important to visit the survivors again on such a special day and wish them a "speedy recovery".
She also wanted to show her support to the grieving families after such a "tragic event".
A few victims were still in the hospital, while others were being provided accommodation in the city while they recovered, she said. Many involved had returned to China.
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Those caught up in the crash were "emotionally traumatised" and many were facing "difficult times" in a foreign country, she said.
She said the Chinese Government had placed high importance on the wellbeing of those affected by the tragedy and providing consular protection was vital.
Mayor Steve Chadwick and Xi sat down for a briefing with police this morning and were informed the investigation into the crash was continuing.
Following this, the pair held a morning tea for those members of the community who jumped into action on the day of tragedy.
Emergency service personnel, translators and people who provided food and help were honoured at the meeting.
Xi wanted to extend her thanks to the entire Rotorua community for all their help, with a special mention to the Chinese community.
She said many had provided wraparound support and had dropped everything to help the victims wherever they could.
Chadwick said the community had provided exceptional support from the beginning and would continue doing so where possible.
However, she said things were now in the hands of the police and Victim Support.