A 23-month-old who died after being hit by a vehicle in the
driveway of his South Auckland home may have been running to
greet his father.
Te Manawa Whetuki Renata, known as Whetuki, suffered critical
injuries when he was hit by a vehicle reversing up his
Papatoetoe, driveway at 6.30pm on Wednesday.
His mother, Emma Renata, was nearby and rushed him to
Middlemore Hospital in her car. The little boy's injuries
were not survivable and doctors pronounced him dead at 7pm.
It is understood Whetuki was rushing to meet his father, who
was arriving home and backing up the driveway towards the
house on a back section. Police would not be drawn on the
incident details, saying it was too early to speculate about
"It will take some time for us to form a clear picture of how
this tragedy occurred and we aren't able to comment further
on the investigation at this time," said Counties Manukau
road policing manager Inspector Neil Fisher.
"Police are in the process of interviewing family members and
neighbours to determine exactly what happened. It's a
distressing and deeply regrettable situation for everyone
It is understood Whetuki's parents are yet to be interviewed.
A Wentworth Ave resident, who did not want to be named, saw
Ms Renata holding Whetuki in the driveway near the father's
"I heard it ... there was a huge commotion. I was cooking and
the television was on but the noise came through over the top
of all of that," she told the Herald. "I ran out and leaned
over the fence and that's when I saw the little fella ... his
mum was holding him ... he was very quiet.
"She was organising somebody to get her car so she could get
the wee kid to hospital. It was all over in a couple of
minutes, she was gone. As she drove off she screamed at me
"look after him", meaning the dad.
"I sat with him ... he was in shock, he just adored that kid.
He was holding their little baby. He wouldn't let her go."
The woman was tearful when speaking to the Herald. "I was
absolutely devastated. When is this going to stop ... they
are just little babies."
Whetuki's family did not want to speak about the tragedy
He is the fourth child to die after being hit by a car in a
driveway since November.
Four children have died as a result of being hit by vehicles
in driveways since November.
Every two weeks a child is hospitalised with serious injuries
after being hit by a vehicle in a private driveway in NZ.
A further five children are killed a year, on average, in the
Most children injured in driveway incidents are toddlers,
aged about 2.
- Anna Leask