Grandmother of boy killed by log on Gisborne beach calls for justice for Oliver Shone

The grandmother of Oliver Shone, who was killed by a forestry log on a Gisborne beach, says she wants justice over his death.

Marie Shone was on holiday with Oliver in January, when the 11-year-old from Wellington was fatally injured on Waikanae Beach.

She's spoken publicly about his death for the first time because she fears other children will die and she wants action on slash, woody debris and waste material from forestry industry harvesting.

"If somebody had shot (him) they'd be in prison. If a car had knocked him over they'd be in prison. But a log is okay, according to them," she said. 

"I just want justice for Oliver.

"He had his whole life ahead of him. I don't want any more kids getting killed by logs. I don't want any more."

She wants the forestry industry to be held accountable saying it's time they "sort out their slash."

"How can you let those (logs) roll downhill, destroying people's houses and homes and livelihoods - everything? How can you let them roll down rivers and end up on beaches?

"Somebody needs to be responsible for that," said Marie.

"I don't know how they sleep at night, those people."

Marie Shone wants justice for her grandson.
Marie Shone wants justice for her grandson. Photo credit: Newshub

Oliver was her only grandchild. She's heartbroken and says losing him feels like the end of the world.

"I was a grandmother," she said through her tears.

Marie says Oliver was a lovely, caring boy who was creative and clever.

"He loved the computer and Minecraft and those sorts of things. And Lego. He built amazing Lego cities and things like that."

He came to visit her every school holiday and on January 25 they went to Waikanae Beach together while on a family trip to Gisborne.

Oliver Shone was killed by a log on Gisborne beach.
Oliver Shone was killed by a log on Gisborne beach. Photo credit: Newshub

Two weeks earlier, Cyclone Hale had drenched the east coast. 

Swollen rivers brought tonnes of forestry slash down to the sea and Tairāwhiti's beaches were left littered with debris.

Marie says there were piles of logs at the back of the beach on the day Oliver died, but that they weren't anywhere near those.

Oliver was simply doing what 11-year-old boys do on a beach - he was having fun.

"We went down to the water's edge and he'd been out. He went out sort of waist deep, and he was playing around and yahooing", said Marie.

Conscious there could be slash in the water, she called him back to shore and they started walking along the beach.

"There was a log, one log just lying there."

"There was no water around it, although the waves were coming in and back again. But he just jumped on it, stood there for a bit, and then he laughed and jumped off and then he got on it again. 

"And that was it."

Patrick Gower spoke with Marie Shone.
Patrick Gower spoke with Marie Shone. Photo credit: Paddy Gower Has Issues.

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Oliver's injuries proved fatal, but Marie doesn't actually know what happened to him.

"I can't see it," she told me.

"I just remember all these people rushing past me and grabbing him. They carried him up the beach and we called 111 and everything was happening."

Doctors and nurses, who by chance were having a meeting at the surf club, came to help. 

Police, ambulance officers, firemen and a rescue chopper were sent - but despite all of their efforts, they couldn't save Oliver. He died in hospital a short time later.

Marie wants to put a note in the local paper one day to thank those who came to help, but she hasn't been able to bring herself to write it yet. It's too hard.

Grandmother of boy killed by log on Gisborne beach calls for justice for Oliver Shone
Photo credit: Newshub

The family knows Waikanae Beach well. They've holidayed there many times.

Marie says the log that killed Oliver was different to the driftwood they'd seen regularly on the beach before.

"It was like the logs you see on the back of the trucks."

She can't bear the sight of those logs, or those trucks, anymore.

"If I'm going over the hill, I can't even follow a forestry truck at the moment. I have to pull over, so I can't see those logs.

"I hate those trucks. Because that log could have easily been on one of those trucks. It should have been on one of those trucks."

She also struggles to look at pine trees now.

"I don't like pine trees.

"No more Christmas trees".

Grandmother of boy killed by log on Gisborne beach calls for justice for Oliver Shone
Photo credit: Newshub

Marie says Oliver's family has heard nothing at all from the forestry industry since his death and she feels ignored.

"I think they're just hoping we'll just sit still and do nothing. When I heard about that little girl, I thought I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do something to stop it happening again."

Phil Hope, from Eastland Wood Council said he was happy to meet with the family. 

"I'll apologise on behalf of the industry and I apologise on behalf of Te Tairawhiti. You know, it was an accident waiting to happen," Hope said. 

10-year-old girl Juliana Martson had her pelvis fractured in two places after being pinned under a log that rolled onto her in the water on a Gisborne beach.

It happened in April, less than three months after Oliver's death.

"I just don't want any more children hurt. Two is too many," said Marie.

She wants the slash off the beaches, because she doesn't want another family to have to suffer the pain Oliver's family has.

"I just want justice," she said. "He didn't die for nothing."

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