An Auckland woman who lost her son to a driver high on meth and alcohol says the anger and hurt is as raw now than ever - nearly a year since his death.

For all the big family milestones in her life - every birthday or anniversary - there is someone missing.

Someone who at 6 and half foot tall would have towered over others in the family photos.

"Mother's Day was very difficult this year," Sue McPherson said.


"We don't have our boy anymore, he was taken from us."

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Every time she gets into a car she thinks about how she might not make it home - after all her son Stephen McPherson's death was as senseless as it was sudden.

There was no reason for it, it was just the selfishness of a stranger, she said.

"It wasn't an accident it was a tragedy."

Stephen McPherson's sister Jane Ricketts and mother Sue McPherson. Photo / NZ Police
Stephen McPherson's sister Jane Ricketts and mother Sue McPherson. Photo / NZ Police

The laws were there for a reason and this had been the result when they were not followed, she said.

Stephen, 36, was riding his motorcycle and was roughly 2km short of making it home when he was wiped off the road by a driver who had been drinking and using methamphetamine.

"[The driver] is getting out of jail soon, after serving a paltry couple of months for taking someone's life," Sue said.


"It's not fair."

Stephen's mother, two sisters and partner have all spoken out in a video organised by the New Zealand Police in the hope they can stop others from getting behind the wheel when they shouldn't.

"If you are going to drink or take drugs then you don't drive a car because this is what can happen," Sue said.

The hope was to spare even just one other family from the "horrible pain and nothingness" that remains long after someone is killed on the country's roads.

Stephen McPherson's crumpled motorcycle. Photo / Supplied
Stephen McPherson's crumpled motorcycle. Photo / Supplied

"There is a giant hole that is never going to be filled up with anything," Sue said.

"It still hurts a lot. It's a complete waste."

Her son was sharp, acerbic at times, and zany as well. The 36-year-old was also an avid sports fan who stayed up to date on everything to do with the cricket, rugby and league.

"He was intensely supportive and protective of his family. So we miss that. He was my only son and he was his dad's best friend as well."

May 24, 2019

One minute, Stephen's partner had been waiting for him to come home, Sue said.

The next minute the "world just explodes and everything just shatters around you".

That morning Stephen had gone to a fertility clinic to drop in samples, so he and his partner Rebecca Smidt could start IVF, before going to work in Onehunga.

There were already young nephews in the family that the couple adored and they were excited to become parents themselves.

But Stephen never made it home from work and never got to start that dream.

Stephen McPherson and his partner Rebecca Smidt. Photo / Supplied
Stephen McPherson and his partner Rebecca Smidt. Photo / Supplied

In the video released today, Rebecca Smidt talks about how she went out looking for him and instead found flashing lights. From that moment on her life was drastically altered.

"There was the before me, and there's an after me, and it's horrendous ... I wish I died that night instead of Stephen and quite often I still think that, because it's no way to live."

Stephen's sister Jane Ricketts said the driver action's had claimed the life of a complete stranger.

"The two of you should be completely unaware of each other. You should never have met on that night. Why did you do that? Why are you so selfish?"

The family were only further appalled by the fact the driver had to be told at the hospital that he had killed someone.

Stephen's sister Nicola McPherson said: "Knowing the horrific and violent way he died, I don't think anyone should have to go through it ever. Especially because it was so avoidable."

Constable Lisa Ross, from the Counties Manukau Serious Crash unit, said drugged and drunk driving makes up an average of 30 per cent of all road deaths.

She said the number of drivers taking unnecessary risks by drinking and taking drugs on the road is extremely disappointing.

Tamaki Makaurau Road Policing Manager Inspector Scot Webb said he hoped the video would help people realise the consequences of taking that risk.

"Nothing will ever bring Stephen back, and the family are so incredibly brave in speaking out.

"The risks of taking alcohol or drugs before driving are demonstrated in this video and too many people continue to do so.

"We hope that this reinforces the message to not drink and drive or use drugs before driving."