Two elderly women who were killed when a car lost control and
crashed into a ditch in Manawatu early this morning have been
named by police.
Kathryn Dinah Matenga, 70, of Gisborne, and Annie Tamanui,
69, also from Gisborne, died following the crash on State
Highway 56 at Longburn at 1.30am today.
The white Mitsubishi Chariot station wagon they were
passengers in was travelling north when it was believed to
have crossed the centreline and crashed into a ditch near the
intersection with Works Rd, police said.
A 53-year-old man was driving and Ms Matenga was the front
seat passenger. Ms Tamanui, a 29-year-old woman, and a
10-year-old boy were in the back seat. It is not yet known
where a 3-year-old boy had been sitting at the time of the
crash, police said.
The two women died at the scene, while the other four injured
people were taken to Palmerston North Hospital.
It is believed all six were related.
"We believe the vehicle was travelling back to an address
after having picked up a family member when the crash
occurred," Senior Sergeant Ashley Gurney, Manawatu area
response manager said.
"This is a horrific tragedy for the families of the victims
and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this dark
The driver and the 10-year-old are in a stable condition, the
29-year-old woman is in a serious condition, and the
3-year-old sustained minor injuries and is being monitored,
Mr Gurney said. All remain in hospital.
A local kaumatua attended the crash scene earlier today and
performed a blessing and karakia.
An investigation into the crash was ongoing, and police
appealed for witnesses to come forward.
"We are working to determine what factors have led to the
crash as well as the probability that the back seat
passengers may not have been restrained," Mr Gurney said.
"We want to speak to anyone that was driving down State
Highway 56 around 1.30am as they may have seen something that
could help us piece together the vehicle's movements on the
road prior to the collision, and I encourage them to contact
Anyone with information is asked to contact Mr Gurney on 06
351 3843 or anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555
- By Patrice Dougan of APNZ