Abigail Hone. Photo / supplied
The family of a young girl killed in a crash along with
two other people say the Dutch tourist accused of causing the
carnage is as much a victim as those who died.
Abigail Hone, 12, was killed alongside her friend Ella
Summerfield, 12, and Ella's mum Sally, 49, in a crash at
Rakaia, 67km southwest of Christchurch, on Saturday.
Mrs Summerfield's husband Shane, who was driving, was
A 52-year-old Dutch man will appear in Christchurch District
Court today charged with three counts of careless use of a
vehicle causing death and one charge of careless use of a
vehicle causing injury.
Yesterday, Abi Hone's family offered an olive branch to the
"They certainly feel for him and what he's going through,"
Hone family spokesman Darren Wright said of Abi's parents
Lucy and Trevor.
"At the end of the day we've all had lapses of judgment.
Unfortunately this one had tragic consequences." The Hones
thought the tourist was "just as much a victim" in what
happened in an area where the roads were narrow and the
cross-road intersections difficult.
The Summerfield family, from Sumner in Christchurch, were
taking Abi with them to the Ohau ski area for the long
Ella's older brother Sam, along with Abi's two older
brothers, were said to be devastated at losing their
"beautiful little sisters", Mr Wright said.
"The Hones are a family that are torn apart by this ...
there's two families here that have been devastated by this.
The Sumner community has wrapped its arms around them,
wanting to help them get through it." It was too early for
the families to finalise funeral arrangements but today
Sumner School, which the girls had previously attended, would
offer a place of remembrance and counselling.
Wyn Mossman, a co-director with Mr Summerfield of Ferrymead
Dental Clinic, said Mrs Summerfield, Ella and Abi had had a
lot to live for.
"They're just gorgeous people from great families who got
involved thoroughly with the community," he said.
"That's why it's so tough.
Mr Summerfield is in a serious but stable condition in
It is understood he is conscious and aware of what had
The crash, and another fatality involving a tourist this
Queen's Birthday long weekend, has ignited debate on whether
foreigners should be better educated before they are allowed
on New Zealand roads.
Prime Minister John Key, also the Tourism Minister, said
yesterday he did not believe changes were needed to current
laws or testing requirements.
"If you look at the accident rate of tourists who come and
drive in New Zealand versus New Zealanders themselves, it's
pretty consistent. They're about the same accident rate per
capita. So I don't think that's a big issue."
Dog and Lemon car review editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, a road
safety campaigner, said the Government needed to make it much
harder to get behind the wheel of a rental car and he called
for a ban on travellers from renting cars until they had
passed an online driving test.
Fewer than 2 per cent of fatal crashes involve foreign
drivers and police Assistant Commissioner of road policing
Dave Cliff pointed to a number of initiatives in place to
make sure tourists were educated about New Zealand road
"There's an awful lot of information for people. You can lead
a horse to water but you can't make it drink." He said police
were "hugely disappointed" at this year's holiday-weekend
road toll, particularly after a high profile "make it to
Monday" safety campaign.
Mr Cliff said police were out in force on traffic hot spots
as people returned from their breaks.
The official holiday period, which began at 4pm on Friday,
ended at 6am today, with the toll at five.
Last year there were no deaths during the same holdiay
On Friday night South Auckland woman Robyn Derrick, 52, was
killed in a collision with a campervan driven by a German
tourist and said by police to have crossed the centre line on
State Highway 25 on the Coromandel Peninsula.
On Saturday Adrian Ihaka, 36, died when he crashed into a
power pole just 600 metres from the Eketahuna Rugby Club,
which he left after an apparent fight with his partner.
- Jimmy Ellingham, APNZ