A promising young West Auckland rugby player who died in a double fatal accident on Boxing Day leaves behind a partner and a one-year-old daughter.
Viliami Junior Muru-Teutau, 20, is one of four people to have died on the road during the Christmas/New Year holiday period.
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He was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in crashed into a bridge in the early hours of the morning.
Another young man also died in the crash. Two others were seriously injured and taken to Auckland City Hospital.
Flowers and tributes, including a school tie and gold chain, had been left at the crash site this morning as contractors worked to repair the mangled bridge.
Muru-Teutau’s family released a statement tonight saying they were devastated at the loss of a vibrant, happy and much loved son, and young father.
“We can’t believe he is gone. We are in a state of shock and our hearts are broken,” the statement read.
“Vili was a young man who had everything to live for. He is the father of a one-year-old daughter, and as one of five children, Vili’s death has crushed his parents and family. There are no words to describe the pain and grief we are feeling.”
The grieving family described him as a naturally gifted sportsman who loved rugby.
He was a former NZ Maori under-18 player, who played for a New South Wales country team last year, before coming home to play in the Waitemata Rugby Club’s premier team.
He was also a roofing apprentice who was working hard towards completing his trade training to provide for his young family.
Vili is survived by his partner and daughter, his parents and brothers and sisters, and his wider family.
Emergency services say the crash took place between Lincoln Rd and Waimumu Rd on Boxing Day. They were called about the incident just before 6am.
Skid marks on the road showed the car had been travelling from Lincoln Rd when it crashed into the bridge, a photographer at the scene said.
Muru-Teutau was a “great player and great friend” to all of his teammates, Waitemata Rugby Club said on its Facebook page.
“It is with a heavy heart that we as a club mourn the loss of one of our young and up and coming players … The club is praying and in support of the family.”
Sky Sport Super Club Rugby U21s Championship said Muru-Teutau was “humble, gifted, (and) loved life” in a Facebook post.
Kelston Boys High School posted a tribute last night, confirming that Muru-Teutau was an old boy of the school.
The school’s principal Adeline Blair told the Herald the school community was devastated by the news and wanted to pass on their condolences to the family.
Four motorists have died so far on New Zealand roads during the official Christmas/New Year’s holiday period.
This story first appeared in the New Zealand Herald and was republished with permission.