Marae supports crash victims' colleagues
Fri, 13 Jul 2012 6:08p.m.
By Adam Hollingworth
The last time the Argentinean workers at Whakapapa ski field met the local iwi was just three weeks ago.
Then they were full of excitement at the start of the ski season. Today they were mourning the loss of four close colleagues, and were welcomed with open arms.
“Some of us work with them up on Ruapehu, so yeah we have a close affiliation with quite a few of them,” says Marama Isherwood from the Papakai marae.
“It's just about taking them in, giving them love and support that they need more than ever at the moment.”
German Caceres, Nicolas Ursic, Agustin D'Onofrio, and Luciano Pucheta died in a road crash as they returned from a football match in Ohakune.
Police have confirmed the one survivor, Benjamin Blake from Chile was not the driver.
Lodge owner Jason Cameron hosted two of the victims, and says their colleagues are still coming to grips with the deaths.
“They're doing their best to cope with what's an awful situation and having them here at the marae this afternoon will be helping to ease some of that pain,” he says.
Whakapapa ski field is planning a memorial on Sunday.
3 News spoke to two flatmates of one of the victims Mr Ursic at Waikato hospital, where they and six other Chileans had been visiting Mr Blake.
They say he is recovering well and happy to be alive. They described their friends as "great guys who'd been having the time of their lives in New Zealand"
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