He was the heart and soul of his community but his incredible life was cut short by a repeat drink-driver travelling at three times the legal limit.
Keith Roebuck from New Plymouth was killed instantly and his wife, Louise, was left with critical lifelong injuries when Murupara businessman Ismael Mitai struck them on a pedestrian crossing in Tokoroa on October 31 last year.
Mitai has now been sentenced to two years and four months in prison.
It's the fourth time Mitai has been convicted of drink driving and for that reason, Judge Greg Hollister-Jones stepped back from giving a sentence of home detention.
Judge Hollister-Jones said Mitai travelled to Tokoroa with friends to attend a concert at a Tokoroa tavern and was supposed to be the designated driver.
He instead chose to drink several vodka mixes during the concert and while watching the livestream of the All Blacks playing in the Bledisloe Cup.
He got into his car intending to go to McDonald's before driving home.
He sped along State Highway 1, travelling between 69km/h and 83km/h in a 60km/h area, while the weather was wet and windy. He didn't notice the pedestrian crossing, or the Roebucks on the crossing.
The Roebucks, who had travelled to Tokoroa with friends in motor homes, had also been watching the All Blacks match at a Tokoroa pub before walking back to their motorhome.
As Mitai struck the couple, they were thrown into the air. Keith Roebuck, 70, died instantly and Louise Roebuck was airlifted to Waikato Hospital. She spent five months in hospital recovering.
The Roebucks have six children and nine grandchildren. Keith had a construction business in New Plymouth and was a community hero who worked tirelessly for Surf Life Saving. He'd also raised more than $400,000 for various charities by organising charity rides.
Louise Roebuck was a marathon and half-marathon runner but now she can only walk supported with a walking frame. She faces two more years of surgeries to mend the 17 injuries she suffered.
Mitai, 40, is the father of five children and owns Waikakariki Ltd contracting firm in Murupara, which employs 11 locals. He is a Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake O Tawhiuau board of trustees member.
His three previous drink-driving convictions were between 2001 and 2003 and he had a driving conviction in 2004 and a minor criminal conviction in 2009. However, since then, Judge Hollister-Jones noted, Mitai had lived a life raising his family and contributing to the community.
The judge described it as a tragedy for the families - both of whom had a strong presence in court, including additional members of the Roebuck's family and friends who watched the sentencing hearing via audiovisual link from a nearby room, given Covid-19 level 2 restrictions on court numbers.
Louise Roebuck, who clutched a photograph of her husband throughout the hearing, hobbled to the front of the court supported by her son, Anthony Roebuck, who read a victim impact statement on behalf of his mother and the Roebuck family.
In it, he described a man who had left a big hole in the New Plymouth community.
"To put this into some sort of perspective, Keith had over 1200 people attend his funeral in person with an additional 3720 people watching online."
He spoke about how they hoped Mitai would be able to now influence his community to stop the damaging cycle of drinking and driving.
"Nothing will bring back Keith to us now and nothing will change Lou's life-altering injuries. Our families will carry our grief and loss for the rest of our lives and other family members will feel deep sorrow and remorse for the harm that this reckless decision to drink and drive and then speed in the conditions caused on that night."
Crown prosecutor Lee Evans said Mitai should be imprisoned because it would send a message that drink driving was "dangerous, illegal and socially unacceptable".
Mitai's lawyer, Andy Hill, said his client wanted to express his deep and genuine remorse and "if he could wave a magic wand he would".
He had engaged in alcohol counselling and had not touched alcohol since and vowed never to again, Hill said.
"It is a real plea for mercy. He has well and truly learned his lesson."
Judge Hollister-Jones acknowledged Mitai's wife, mother, grandmother and aunt who were present in court. He noted a letter from Mitai's wife that said the couple had started drinking alcohol young and had talked about making changes before the tragedy occurred, for the sake of their children.
"You wished it had happened sooner."
The judge said Louise Roebuck's injuries were so severe, her life was "touch and go".
"I have watched her today and she presents as a frail woman in pain."
He said the family's victim impact statement made it clear Keith Roebuck was the "heart and soul" of his community.
Judge Hollister-Jones said it was his role to administer justice to everyone.
He credited Mitai for the "confronting" restorative justice meeting that was held in September where it was clear he was sorry and remorseful.
As part of the sentence, Mitai will pay the family $5000 in emotional harm reparation and has been disqualified from driving for three years.