Funeral today for toddler killed in BOP crash

The funeral of a toddler who was killed in a crash in Bay of Plenty last weekend will be held today.

Kiriwhakairo Riverton Parata-Elia died after the 4WD vehicle he and three others were travelling in left the road and flipped on State Highway 2 at Waiotahi, west of Opotiki, about 6am on Sunday.

A death notice described the 18-month-old from Belmont, Auckland, as the loved son of Waiotemarama (Waio) Rozlyn Parata Haua and Te Orangapumau Elia.

His mother Waio featured as Keisha Castle-Hughes' stunt double in the 2002 film Whale Rider. She is now a chef in the Navy.

More than 30 people have paid tribute to Kiriwhakairo on Waio's Facebook page.

"Awww Waio, ka aroha," Tia Takarangi wrote.

"Thinking of you and your whanau at this sad time Waio xx so sorry for your loss xx," wrote Josselle Kirikino.

The 4WD vehicle Kiriwhakairo was travelling in was found upside down in a drain. He was in the back of the vehicle, police said.

All four people in the vehicle were "suitably restrained", a spokeswoman said.

"Alcohol has also been ruled out as a factor," she said. There were no injuries to the other three people in the vehicle.

Kiriwhakairo lay at Kaiaio Marae, in Te Kaha on Monday before departing for Hiruharama Pa, in Ruatoria on Tuesday.

His funeral service will be held at 11am today at Hiruharama Pa followed by interment at Korokota Urupa, in Kahuitara.

Inquiries into the cause of the crash were continuing, Sergeant Ray Wylie from Eastern Bay of Plenty Road Policing Group said.

- By Brendan Manning of APNZ

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