Family friend remembers teen killed in Invercargill crash tragedy as caring and cheeky man

One of four teenagers killed in an Invercargill crash on Friday has been remembered as a “beautiful, talented, caring and cheeky man”.

Police have named the four boys who died as Konnor Steele, 16, Indaka Rouse, 16, Kyah Kennedy, 16, all from Bluff, and O Maruhuatau Otuwhare Tawhai, 17, from Invercargill.

Police are still working to piece together how the Ford ute they were travelling in collided head-on with a concrete truck on an inner-city street in Invercargill just before 4pm on Friday.

A Givealittle page has been set up by a friend of Tawhai’s family. So far the page has raised over $2000, which will go towards Maru’s tangihanga.

“The whānau [is] losing a moko, nephew, cousin and friend. The community losing a handsome young man.

“Maru [is] a 17-year-old young beautiful, talented, caring and cheeky man [who] has been stolen, and hearts are suffering,” the family friend wrote.

A friend of Rouse’s family has also set up a Givealittle page to raise money to support his mother.

“As his mum and his family grieve for the loss of their son, we would like to be able to raise some funds in order to ease some financial strain so that his mumma can take some time to be with his brothers and sisters and grieve,” a family friend wrote on Givealittle.

So far the Givealittle page that has been up for just under 24 hours has raised over $7000.

“Our love and thoughts are with Aleisha at this incredibly difficult and sad time. Moe mai rā, Indaka,” one person who donated wrote.

“Sending you so much love Aleisha and whanau, I am absolutely heartbroken for you all,” wrote another.

Tributes and photos have been posted and shared widely of the boys, whose deaths have shaken the Invercargill and Bluff communities.

Meanwhile, the Demons and Port Softball Club in Southland has paid tribute to Kennedy.

In a post on Facebook, the club remembered Kennedy as a “talented teammate and a fierce competitor”.

“He was a natural athlete and a pleasure to be around, the Demons Club were thankful to him for joining us at various Club Champs Tournaments over the years.”

The “devastated” Port Softball Club also took to social media to pay tribute to Kennedy’s parents and extended family.

“You have been a part of our club for so long and we are just overstruck with sadness that you’re now flying high with the angels.”

Earlier today, Simon Coe, rector of Southland Boys’ High School, said the accident was a difficult time for the Bluff, Invercargill and SBHS communities.

All four of the boys are former students of the school.

“Our thoughts are with the grieving families and we have reached out to them.

“We are saddened by the loss of four young men who had a life of potential ahead of them,” Coe said.

He said the staff team at the school will be available for affected whanau and friends over the coming times.

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