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Two men killed in a road crash in Eastern Bay of Plenty at the weekend can now be formally named as 17-year-old Turuki Kereopa and 36-year-old Katiana Kereopa.
The crash happened at approximately 6.30am on Saturday morning (7 July) on State Highway 2, Nukuhou, between Whakatane and Opotiki, when a car travelling east collided with a ute travelling in the opposite direction.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation but early indications are that neither of the men who died were wearing seatbelts and the driver, Turuki Kereopa, had no driver's licence.
Acting Road Policing Manager, Senior Sergeant Andrew Allerton, said: "It is too early to comment on the extent to which driving experience or the lack of restraints were factors in the crash or the deaths. It does however serve as a reminder of the importance of taking some basic steps to stay safe on our roads. Drivers' licences exist to ensure that there are minimum driving standards on our roads and evidence shows that seatbelts save lives. The Kereopa family have suffered a significant loss this weekend and we don't want to see other families going through the same trauma."
The driver of the other vehicle remains in hospital in a serious condition.