The family of the victims of a tragic farm accident near Raetihi on Sunday have spoken out for the first time
Three people died after a side-by-side off-road vehicle plunged into a pond after crashing into a dam on the farm.
The victims were named on Monday as 66-year-old Bev Hiscox and her two grandchildren, Luka and JJ Sirett, aged 10 and 5.
Mike Hiscox, 69, managed to escape the vehicle and survived with moderate injuries.
"The families are deeply saddened by this tragic course of events which resulted in the loss of their mum and nanny, and her two grandsons," family spokesperson Elijah Pue said on Monday.
Pue said it was important for the families to share what happened "in their own time and in their own way".
"As they were affectionately known by, nanny Bev and poppa Mike were spending quality time with Luka (aged 10) and JJ (aged 5) on the family farm. Sadly, an accident occurred, whereby their side-by-side farm vehicle tragically went into a farm dam. Bev, Luka and JJ passed away, however Mike survived the accident with minor injury.
"Naturally, the families are distraught but are comforted by the support of the close-knit Waimarino community and their friends."
Both the Hiscox and Sirett families are well known in the area and have lived there for many years, Pue said.
"A mother of five girls and a nanny to 10 grandchildren, Bev was the matriarch of her family and was also the loving and devoted wife to Mike. She had the biggest heart.
"Luka and JJ were the closest of brothers. Luka gave his absolute best at everything he did and was a Lego Master and an avid MineCraft player – he was also an awesome singer. JJ loved snuggles and being in the outdoors – and had a cheeky smile. Just like their nanny, Luka and JJ had the biggest of hearts."
The families thanked emergency services who responded quickly and asked for privacy as they grieved.
Lisa Clark, principal of Ohakune Primary School where both boys were students, said the accident had "devastated" the local community.
"We as a school are completely devastated by the loss of our precious boys and their dearly loved grandmother," Clark told Newshub.
"Our thoughts and love are with the family at this very difficult time."