A tragedy in the Far North that claimed the lives of cousins aged four and six has plunged whānau on both sides of the Tasman into unimaginable grief, a family member says.
The boys, one from Perth and the other from Auckland, were riding in an off-road vehicle on 29 December on a farm in Peria.
The family say the off-road vehicle hit a boulder and threw them into a waterhole.
The driver and three other passengers survived with moderate injuries.
In a Facebook post, stepmother Destiny Swann paid tribute to both boys.
She said no words could capture the magnitude of loss and that the cousins had a unique spark that made them special.
Relatives are fundraising for the cost of the boys’ funerals, and to repatriate one cousin’s body back to Australia, and the post described the boys as irreplaceable lights whose loss had shattered hearts beyond repair.
An aunt, Rani Livingstone, described the two boys on social media as the “embodiment of adventure and joy”.
Hapū in the Far North have placed a rāhui, which prohibits swimming and fishing, on the stream where the boys died.
It applies to the Waikainga Steam at Peria, from Shepherd Road to the saleyards bridge.
The restrictions are due to be lifted on 7 January.