Five victims of Waikato deadly crash named as tributes flow for Suliasi Lefai and Piata ‘Otufangavalu

A Tongan man and a woman who died in a crash involving two cars colliding head-on have been remembered fondly by their families and friends.

Ofufangavalu’s relatives remembered her online as “forever young and beautiful … our first love”. Photo/Supplied

An elderly couple died in one car has been identified as Paul and Lois Grimmer, Stuff reported.

The three people in the other vehicle were Piata Ofufangavalu, Cheyene Love-Mitchell and Suliasi Lefai.

An online user by the name Asena Tautala Lefai, who identified herself on social media as Suliasi’s mother, lamented her son’s death.

“My son it is 2.38am now I just woke up thinking that you are sleeping for work, or you are still staying up gaming. ‘Oiauē! how it happened that you have left me”, she wrote in Tongan.

‘Asena said her son’s death has been a “horrible loss” to their family and one they struggle with daily.

“I felt overwhelming love for you”, she wrote on Facebook.

“Our home is absolutely silent my unforgettable son!”

One post said Otufangavalu was “forever young and beautiful… our first love”.

“Heartbroken for the whaanau, arohanui”, another comment read.

She was being taken to the high school’s O-Tāwhao Marae at 2pm, according to an outline of her tangi which will end with a burial in Ngunguru, near Tutukaka in Northland on Sunday.

It is understood ‘Otufangavalu’s father is Tongan.

“We will update you all as we finalise her arrangements”, another post said of ‘Otufangavalu.

“We ask for your patience and consideration as we work through this difficult time”.

Waikato road policing manager Inspector Jeff Penno told media on Wednesday morning that one of the cars had crossed the centre line, resulting in a head-on collision.

“We understand the time it happened, where it happened, how it happened – but we don’t know why it happened,” Penno said.

Suliasi’s mother said her son’s death has been a “horrible loss” to their family and one they struggle with daily.Photo/Supplied

Police would check whether either driver was impaired.

“While we always look at the environment, early indications are that roading factors on this particular piece of road are not at fault.

“Impairment is always something we look at, to ensure all drivers are sober, not just alcohol but illegal and legal drugs and that is certainly a focus of this accident.”

The Serious Crash Unit had conducted a “meticulous scene examination” on Tuesday night.

“And the findings from that examination and forensic evidence obtained will feed into a crash investigation, which is likely to take several months,” Penno said.

The crash happened at 4.44pm on Tuesday on State Highway 3 in Ōhaupō, about halfway between Hamilton and Te Awamutu.

Earlier, he said the cause of the crash could go unknown for months.

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