Woman had no idea she was helping at crash site of dead cousins

A woman who arrived at the scene of a car crash and went to pick up the body of a toddler had no idea at the time it was her own relative.

Jahniah Fairburn, 20, and her daughter Azarliyah, 2, died in the collision near Kaiwaka on Saturday night, leaving their family devastated and heartbroken.

Speaking at the whānau's marae, Fairburn's sister Liza Fairburn and cousin Waimarie Ratu told Newshub the pain is still extremely raw.

They say Janaia was a caring and loving mother and wanted to be a singer.

"Just got a genuine heart, eh - she would give the shirt off her back for anyone. She was so cheeky and so happy, so wonderful."

Janaia and her daughter were travelling with her partner and their other child when the collision happened.

Ratu arrived at the scene with her husband, who is a minister that blesses crash sites. She had no idea when she went to pick up a baby's body from the road, that it was one of her own mokopuna.

"I'm glad I didn't know at the time it was my baby because she was damaged so much. If I'd picked her up I'd have made things worse."

It's understood police have charged an Auckland teenager with drink-driving as a result of the crash. He will reappear in court later this month.

This crash is one of many terrible accidents across the country in the last four days.

"Our family ain't just hurting - it's for everyone. It's such a tragedy, it shouldn't happen to my sister," Liza told Newshub.

Janaia and Arzarliya's family will gather on Wednesday morning for the burial. It will be a tough day for this whānau, but it's one they'll face together.


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