Whānau of the Whangārei Boys’ High School student who died in Abbey Caves say they are overwhelmed by the aroha from around New Zealand for their tragic loss.
A whānau member said the family felt supported by the awhi from people throughout Aotearoa. The member said the wider whānau of their family member swept away in Abbey Caves on Tuesday had this morning set up a Givealittle page to support those facing such a devastating loss.
”Words cannot express the storm of emotions we feel today for our grieving whānau. Please koha to support as we navigate this senseless tragedy,” the whanau member said.
The whānau member said it was clear people from around New Zealand were thinking of the boy and family.
Funding would go towards whānau expenses such as the boy’s tangi.
The whānau member said the loss was a reminder that people should cherish every moment with those they loved.
”Koha to support whānau of Year 11 student lost in Abbey Caves tragedy” is the name of the Givealittle page that went live at 10am today.
More than $8000 had been raised for the whanau by 12pm.
A family member shared a message of thanks on a Facebook group.
”On behalf of the whānau, we cannot express how grateful we are to all those who were involved in helping us find and bring our baby boy back to us.
”Police, fire crew, search and rescue, medical crew and so much more.
”We all felt so supported and cared for throughout the entire process.
”Your tireless efforts and aroha will be with us forever.”
WorkSafe confirmed this morning an investigation has begun, but cannot comment further while the investigation is under way.
Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis was at the scene this morning and said the student’s family needed all the love and support they could get from the community.
”We need to be thinking about the other young people from the school – his friends, but also the staff as well. Everybody is really feeling for this and everyone is reeling, but the most important thing to do right now is to have care, compassion and love for those people who are affected, especially the family.
”There will be a time for questions and those questions need to be answered, and I’m sure the school won’t shy away from participating as fully as possible, but right now, you know, we really do need to focus on just helping and supporting people.”
He said the Ministry of Education’s trauma team would be at the school today as there would be a lot of people that needed support, and that was really where the focus needed to be at present.
”There will be a lot of emotion, in particular anger as well as sadness. We’ve made the offer to be there if the school would like us to be there; they want to do things in their own way.”
Northland District Commander Superintendent Tony Hill said police were ensuring the family members of the boy who died are being offered support.
Some cordons will remain in place around the caves area while police continue to conduct a routine scene examination.