Eru Patuwai with his son, Arai.
Tragedy followed Eru Patuwai during his brief life, but the new father was just starting to get back on track when he was killed in a hit-and-run accident.
He had been riding his Harley-Davidson through Weymouth in south Auckland when he was involved in a collision with a van at the corner of Weymouth Rd and Blanes Rd just after 7.30pm on Friday, October 20.
Patuwai, 21, suffered serious injuries and was taken to Auckland Hospital where he was kept on life support for five days before his loved ones made the agonising decision to turn off the machines last Friday.
Now his family are appealing to the humanity of the van driver, who left the scene after the collision that killed Patuwai.
“There’s a lot of hurt here right now, a lot of anger,” a family spokesperson said.
“We just want this person to do the right thing now.”
Patuwai had been through much in his life. In 2003, aged 4, he survived a house fire that killed his father, older sister Kihini and younger brother Watene.
The three kids had been left home alone and when their parents came home they found the house ablaze.
Patuwai’s dad ran into the house to save the children, but perished in the fire.
His mum, Louana Patuwai, saw young Eru through the smoke and pulled him from house. The young boy was left with burns to 20 per cent of his body that required years of ongoing treatment.
But he always managed to keep a positive attitude, the spokesperson said.
During his time in hospital all he ever talked to the nurses about was how he wanted to start a family of his own, they said.
Then five weeks before his death he welcomed his first child, his son Arai.
His family have also set up a Givealittle page to help his partner and son and help pay for the expenses of the funeral.
Detective Senior Sergeant Albie Alexander said Counties Manukau police were continuing to investigate the crash.
Investigators had located the van and carried out a forensic examination on it.
Alexander said police were “following strong lines of inquiry” in relation to the identity of the driver.
“We have had good assistance provided by our community, however I urge anyone with information to come forward and contact police,” Alexander said.
Anyone with information can contact Police on 105 and quote the file number 201021/0933.
Information can be provided anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.