Martine Gale was humorous, loving and caring. Photo / Supplied quintin_5.JPG
Quinten Gale misses his mother, Martine Gale, who died in January after being hit by a drink-driver. Photo / Andrew Warner 110920aw27.JPG
Xianju (Aaron) Pan. Photo / File 090920aw01.JPG
For Quinten Gale, his mother was everything.
"Your mother is your soul. That is what she meant to me. I just miss talking to my mother. She was it for me."
Now the former Rotorua man is learning to live his life without her after she was killed by a drink-driver in January this year.
Martine Gale (nee Hansen), 71, died on January 29 in Waikato Hospital from head injuries.
Six days earlier she was walking home from the supermarket about 1pm near the corner of Malfroy Rd and Ranolf St when she was run over by a car being driven by Rotorua acupuncturist Xianju (Aaron) Pan.
Pan is now serving 11 months' home detention after pleading guilty to drink-driving causing death and failing to stop.
Pan had spent the previous hour-and-a-half drinking at a local restaurant with friends celebrating the Chinese New Year.
Pan was not a regular drinker but on this day had taken some medication for vertigo as well as consumed beer and a Chinese spirit called Baiju, which was similar in nature and strength to whisky.
He chose to drive, despite later being found to be more than four times over the legal blood alcohol limit. A blood test showed he had 214mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 50mg.
Justice Christian Whata sentenced Pan to 11 months' home detention after Pan earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of driving with excess blood alcohol causing death and one charge of failing to stop.
Quinten Gale said now that he's had time to process the sentence, he was pretty upset.
"My mother's life is only worth 11 months' home detention? It seems like a big kick in the guts."
He said he hadn't previously expressed strong desires over Pan's sentence.
"That doesn't change anything. Doesn't bring her back."
Pan, who was born in China, was described at his sentencing as a man who doesn't normally drink alcohol, is a medical professional, a family man and someone who is respected by his community.
Quinten Gale said he's not yet sure he could ever forgive Pan.
"I can't even answer that question at this stage. It's still pretty raw."
Quinten Gale said his mother was born in The Netherlands and her family moved to India until the age of about 5, following her father's job as one of the heads of KLM Airline.
In 1951 they moved to New Zealand and settled in Dunedin before moving to Rotorua in the mid-1970s.
She attended art school in Dunedin and was skilled in both drawing and painting, and Quinten Gale talks about his mother's artwork with pride.
"I learned a lot looking at her art. A lot of things from real life."
Quinten Gale stayed with his mother in Rotorua and he has a sister in Christchurch.
For the first few years in Rotorua, he lived with his mother but has had his own place in recent years.
He said she suffered from a bone condition and sometimes found it difficult to move around and needed his help.
"She was humorous, loving, caring and she just about got on with anyone from any walk of life."
He said seeing her in hospital in the days before her death was horrifying.
Her pelvis area was so shattered from being run over, doctors needed to put a belt around her to lift her into the rescue helicopter.
When they did this, she screamed in pain. She then went into a coma and never woke up.
"Those are the screams I will never forget."