Girl found dead on SH3 named

17-year-old Ocean Heke was found dead yesterday on SH3 in Otorohanga (Facebook)
17-year-old Ocean Heke was found dead yesterday on SH3 in Otorohanga (Facebook)

Family spokespeople for the teenage girl killed on State Highway 3 in Otorohanga early yesterday morning say the girl's grandfather was also killed along the same stretch of road.

The spokespeople, who are 17-year-old Ocean Poihaere Heke's great uncle and aunt, say the girl's grandfather was walking along the road when he was hit by a car around six years ago.

The Te Kuiti College student was found dead the side of the road after spending the previous evening celebrating a friend's 18th birthday.

A post-mortem today showed Ocean sustained injuries consistent with being hit by a motor vehicle.

Police say they have identified a car that appears to have been involved and are speaking with two young people who are helping them with inquiries.

"The post-mortem confirms what we believe had occurred from the scene examination yesterday," says Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson. "We have identified a car that appears to have been involved. This too will undergo a forensic examination today."

Neighbours who live opposite the site where the teenager's body was found say they heard a loud bang in the early hours of yesterday morning. Residents tell Newshub people are frequently speeding along the road and they want to see barriers erected.

SH3 closed at midday while the investigation continued. The New Zealand Transport Agency says there will be some delays and to avoid the area if possible. Detours will also be in place.

Family and friends have been paying tribute to Ocean, also known as Lovey.

Ocean's mother, Bella Heke, posted a tribute on her Facebook page this morning saying: "It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that Clarry, i and our children must farewell our beautiful baby 'Lovey' Ocean Poihaere Heke. Our hearts are broken in pieces baby girl but we will be strong x.

"i know Grand dad was waiting with open arms a smile and a tear. We love you so much. This is hurting my soul so much my Lovely I can hardly bear it but for all your sisters and brothers I will be strong, WE will be strong. Rest in the everlasting loving arms of our Father and our Tupuna our LoveyLove [sic]."

 

Friend Jessie-Jo, who was at the party with Ocean on Saturday night, says the incident is "unbelievable".

"It's just a big shock really," she says. "It's hard to believe. She was lovely, honestly. She was just the most bubbly person. She was so nice to everyone and it was hard to be sad around her because she was always smiling."

Family are gathering at the family home in Te Kuiti this afternoon waiting for Ocean's body and her mother to return home. The body will be returned in the next day or so, police say, and may then be taken to the family marae, Marakopa Marae.

Otorohanga Mayor Max Baxter told the Paul Henry programme it's a difficult time for everyone.

"I'd just like to send my condolences to Ocean's family and friends. It's horrible for them to go through this at the moment. She would've been well-known in the community."

"This is a tragedy and our thoughts are with her family at this time," says Snr Sgt Patterson.

Scene examinations are ongoing and police would like to hear from anyone who has any information or may have witnessed any collisions on Main North Rd (SH3) between 3am and 7am yesterday morning.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on (07) 858 6200 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Newshub.