A Far North community is in mourning after a 12-year-old girl was struck by a truck shortly after getting off a school bus.

The accident happened on Friday and has ''left a huge hole'' in the hearts of her school and the Houhora community.

The girl was transported to the Pukenui St John Ambulance station after the accident about 3.15pm on Friday on State Highway 1, north of Houhora, then flown by rescue helicopter to Auckland's Starship Hospital, where she later died.

Her name had not yet been released by police.


A student at Pukenui School, she was described by principal Carolyn Smith as a lovely girl who would be sadly missed.

"She was the brightest, bubbliest girl, a real character," she said.

"She always had a giggle, a smile and a bit of a laugh. And she sang like an angel. She was one out of the bag, and she has left a huge hole in our hearts and in the heart of our school."

The accident occurred on State Highway 1 near the intersection with Subritzky Rd, north of Houhora. Photo / Google Street View
The accident occurred on State Highway 1 near the intersection with Subritzky Rd, north of Houhora. Photo / Google Street View

A police investigation into the accident, which occurred shortly after the girl got off a school bus, is continuing.

Senior Constable Warren Bunn, of the Police Serious Crash Unit, said the school bus always went first to Ngataki, then turned around and headed south again to drop off children who lived on the other side of the highway so they didn't have to cross the road.

It was heading back towards Houhora when the girl got off at the intersection of SH1 and Subritzky Rd and decided to cross the highway.

Seeing the stationary bus, the driver of a southbound truck slowed "right down" but it appeared the girl had been struck by a northbound truck and trailer.

The investigation was ongoing, but it was possible the driver of the southbound truck had shielded the girl's view of the second vehicle as it approached from the other direction.


By law all drivers approaching a stationary school bus from either direction must slow down to 20km/h.

In 2008 Kaitaia College student Grant Collins, 13, was fatally injured moments after getting off a school bus and crossing State Highway 1 at the intersection with Houhora Heads Rd, about 35km north of Kaitaia. The driver was found not to be at fault.

The accident prompted his parents — his father was a Northland police officer at the time — to start a nationwide road safety campaign while Far North bus operator Tom Petricevich modified his buses with a large warning sign to make them more visible to other traffic.

The signs also remind drivers of the 20km/h limit when passing a school bus.