April 04th, 2023
Christmas Eve bus tragedy
When dozens of bus passengers were injured in a horrific crash near her home last Christmas Eve, mother-of-three and volunteer surf lifesaver Kristina Williams rushed to their aid.
On board were 53 teachers and students from a Tongan college brass band heading to Gisborne. Sione Taumalolo, 11, and Talita Moimoi Fifita, 33, died at the scene, and Leotisia Malakai, 55, died eight days later.
Unexpectedly thrown from the warmth of a family Christmas Eve to tending victims on a cold dark hillside, Kristina credits surf lifesaving for giving her the tools to help.
“The girl we met on the road said it was a bus with lots of kids and my heart sank,” remembers Kristina.
Half an hour earlier Kristina and extended family were settling down to a fun-filled Christmas Eve with presents to wrap and children to tuck into bed. But all that was shattered when a car pulled up to their rural Muriwai house and a man began to shout. Read full feature
Written by Hayley Redpath, published in the New Zealand Herald, Hawke's Bay Today and The Gisborne Herald.