Disbelief and heartbreak at loss

Dunedin teenagers have shared their anger, heartbreak and disbelief at the loss of a friend who they say spread love everywhere.

Trinity Catholic College pupil Enere McLaren-Taana, 16, died after being stabbed at the Dunedin bus hub on Thursday afternoon.

Enere McLaren-Taana. Photo: supplied
Enere McLaren-Taana. Photo: supplied
Groups of friends and acquaintances gathered at the bus hub yesterday for a blessing and to leave flowers and tributes.

Levi Mielnik, 16, said he had known Enere for a while and he was a funny person.

"When I found out I was just heartbroken, real angry.

"He made a joke out of anything and just spread love everywhere."

Levi said he was trying to "talk to" Enere at the vigil.

He told him he missed him, wanted him alive again and to hear his jokes.

He still felt kind of safe at the bus hub, but "a little bit less now", and he wanted people to be careful, Levi said.

"Be careful who you hang out with."

Dozens of young people yesterday visited the site where a teenager died at the Dunedin bus hub on...
Dozens of young people yesterday visited the site where a teenager died at the Dunedin bus hub on Thursday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Tony Marechal, 15, said he was in "disbelief".

"I never thought that would happen so close."

He said he did "not really" feel safe at the bus hub any more, but was amazed by the community’s response.

"It is amazing how many people have shown up."

A Dunedin pupil, who did not want to be named, said she saw a fight between the pair break out centimetres from where she was standing in the bus hub.

She and her friends were going to Woolworths from the bus hub when Enere and the alleged attacker almost smashed into them while they were arguing, she said.

She said she and her friends thought they should "get out of there".

The left and when they came back, Enere was injured and the alleged attacker was gone.

"When I heard he died, I did cry a lot. I didn’t know him but it was horrifying.

"While my friends and I were on the bus we were talking about how he wasn’t going to die - but then we were wrong. You never know what is going to happen."

Trinity Catholic College principal Kate Nicholson said the school’s hearts "go out to his whānau who are going through this terrible loss".

"It is so devastating, heartbreaking and sad to lose someone so young and full of energy and promise in such a senseless and horrific way."

Enere was a former King’s High School pupil and acting rector Darin Smith said yesterday the school was in shock.

"The staff and the students are struggling to comprehend, like we all are, the nature of what has taken place in our city."

Enere had strong connections with people at the school, especially with people he played sports with, Mr Smith said.

"They are hurting. They are going through a range of emotions right now.

"We lost a fantastic young man, and the family has lost a young man in their lives and our thoughts should be with them."

The school was doing all it could to look after the pupils hit hard by what had happened.

Otago Rugby League also paid tribute.

"Our community has been rocked with the news of the passing of one of our beautiful young men.

"All the aroha to Enere’s whānau in this impossibly difficult time."