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Weekend of New Zealand Beauty Ends in Tragedy

Three students die in road accident


From the lake town of Taupo, New Zealand, elevation 1,168 feet, the road to Tongariro Crossing rises slowly to 2,500 feet, the base elevation for a hike that takes trekkers through a moonscape more than 6,000 feet high. Tongariro Crossing, where part of the film Lord of the Rings was shot, is said to be one of the most beautiful day hikes in the world. Among students in BU’s Auckland study abroad program, it is known as one of the things everyone should do before leaving New Zealand.

Its powerful beauty and promise of adventure is understandably irresistible to the kind of students who are likely to choose Auckland as a place to study abroad. And so last Friday, 26 students from this semester’s program climbed into three vans and headed out for the experience of a lifetime. They spent Friday night at a hostel in Taupo, and at 6 a.m. Saturday settled in the vans for the last leg of their drive. An hour and a half later, the trip ended for students in two of the vans when one reportedly swerved onto gravel on the side of the road, then rolled over. Three students died and five were injured. One remains in critical condition.

Joseph Bergen, U.S. vice consul in Auckland, said the deceased students are Daniela Lekhno (SMG’13), Roch Jauberty (CAS’14), and Austin Brashears (ENG’13). Lekhno, whose hometown is Manalapan, N.J., was studying business administration and management, with a concentration in finance, and was a member of Alpha Delta Pi until last year. Jauberty, who lived in Paris, France, was studying international relations and economics, and was minoring in business administration and management. He was involved in the College of Arts & Sciences student government. Austin Brashears, from Huntington Beach, Calif., was an engineering major and a popular student advisor at Orientation.

Boston University BU study abroad Auckland New Zealand 2012 students

Samantha Sergent (from left), Fred Williams, Emily Melton (CAS’14), Roch Jauberty (CAS’14), and Dustin Holstein (SMG’13).

Bernd Widdig, executive director of BU’s study abroad programs, says Margaret Theriault (SMG’13) was airlifted from the crash site and is in critical condition with a serious head injury in Waikato Hospital’s intensive care unit. Stephen Houseman (SHA’13) and Emily Melton (CAS’14) were treated and released from Taupo Hospital. Alys McAlpine (SMG’13) and Kathy Moldawer (CAS’12) are being treated at a hospital in the town of Rotorua. All of the students except Theriault were enrolled in the BU study abroad program in Auckland. Theriault was enrolled in the study abroad program in Sydney, Australia.

No BU staff was involved with the trip, which was organized by the students. The lead van proceeded to its destination, its passengers unaware of the disaster behind them. Students traveling in the second van, none of whom were injured, are Dustin Holstein (SMG’13), Giselle Moreno (SAR’13), Keely McCaffrey (COM’13), Kyle Snow (CAS’13), Hayley Ross (SMG’13), and Evan White (CAS’13).

White says he was riding in the back of the van when he saw the driver look in the rear view mirror and immediately pull over. White pulled his earphones out of his ears, turned around, and saw something he says he will never forget. “We saw people lying in the road and saw wounded people and just felt kind of helpless,” he says. “Our first impulse was to do whatever we could, but everyone had a sense of helplessness. I helped people away from the van. Others ran to a house to get help.”

He says the group is staying together in Auckland and trying to support and help one another. “It hurts a lot,” White says. “Last night we all dragged our mattresses into the common room and slept in the same place just to show solidarity. We are just talking about it and trying to be very open. Hopefully everyone at BU can come to terms with it too, like we’re trying to do here.”

Holstein says the trip to Tongariro Crossing is a popular outing for students in the study abroad program, and the site of the filming of the Mount Doom scene in the Lord of the Rings is known as one of the highlights of the trip. He declined to talk about the cause of the accident, which is under investigation, but he says the roads were well-maintained. Holstein says a local family near the accident offered support to the entire group until police escorted them back to Auckland.

“Right now we are just trying to get through this,” he says. “The best way to do that is to hold each other up and give each other the support we need.”

Boston University BU study abroad Auckland New Zealand 2012 students

Austin Brashears (ENG’13) (from left), Sam Bernard, Stephen Houseman (SHA’13), Julia Catalini, Cate Parker, Adrian Nardella, Soleil Schwabe, Michelle Hulewicz, and Dustin Holstein (SMG’13).

Willis Wang, a University vice president and associate provost for global programs, says the two New Zealand universities associated with the program, the University of Auckland and the Auckland University of Technology, have extended their counseling services to BU students who are studying abroad there, and they are conducting regular counseling sessions.

“This is a horrible tragedy,” says BU President A. Robert Brown. “Our prayers go out the students and their families. We will do all we can to provide comfort and assistance to those who have been injured, and to the families and friends of the victims. The University is mobilizing all of our resources to help our students and families deal with this tragedy.”

In a letter sent to all students and parents of students in the Auckland and Sydney programs, Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer, wrote that the University is offering support to all students in the two programs and that partnering organizations in those cities are also providing support.

The New Zealand study abroad program, which has 49 students, integrates academic study and professional internships in Auckland, and is offered in both the fall and spring semesters. It ends at the end of June.

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore says this was a terrible end to a difficult year.

“This is an unusual time on our campus,” says Elmore (SED’87). “We have a lot of people who are traveling and some people who are celebrating the end of final exams. I’d like everyone to please take a moment to pay our respects to the families of those who have been killed. I hope everyone in our community knows that if anyone needs assistance, counseling is available in person and on the phone.”

Counseling for students on the Charles River Campus and elsewhere is available from Marsh Chapel chaplains and at Student Health Services. Chaplains can be reached at 617-353-3560. SHS counselors can be reached at 617-353-3575. A Behavioral Medicine provider can be reached through 617-353-3569 for those who urgently need counseling related to this event. Counseling is also available for faculty and staff through the Faculty & Staff Assistance Office, at 617-353-5381. Please do not call those numbers for information about the accident. BU Today will be updated as more information becomes available.

Art Jahnke

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.

121 Comments on Weekend of New Zealand Beauty Ends in Tragedy

  • S on 05.11.2012 at 10:58 pm

    Truly heartbreaking. My thoughts go out to their family and friends. Hoping for a speedy recovery for the injured students.

    • Rachel on 05.12.2012 at 11:54 am

      i know… my cousin was in the crash. Our parents werent sleeping at night, trying to find out if she was okay. Thank God she was in the other van, but many of her very close friends died or are severely injured. Please pray for her.

      • jacques on 05.12.2012 at 5:30 pm

        Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You are not alone!

      • Joyce Chamberlain on 05.12.2012 at 6:02 pm

        Our family, in New Zealand, send our deepest sympathy to the families in Amercia who have been effected by this accident. We send you lots of aroha (love) and kia kaha (be strong).

        • Natalie on 05.14.2012 at 8:19 am

          Thank you for your solidarity with us at this sad, sad time.

    • Emma Lou E on 05.12.2012 at 7:41 pm

      To their family and friends:
      Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
      Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
      Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

    • Larelle Brown on 05.13.2012 at 11:11 pm

      Everyone in New Zealand are thinking of you all at Boston University. Our aroha (love) to family and friends. Look after each other and hold each other close. Larelle from Hamilton, New Zealand

  • No on 05.11.2012 at 11:03 pm

    “Terrible time to end a difficult year.”

    Wow. How about we post the facts about this unfortunate happening instead of editorializing?

    • Joe on 05.12.2012 at 12:47 am

      Really? Pretty sure if you read the article it says the facts. Additionally, that line is a paraphrase from Elmore. Pretty sure that’s a standard and decent reply from the Dean of Students. But way to be a dick about it.

      Terrible thing to happen. Feel so bad for their families and friends who had to get such a terrible phone call.

    • .... on 05.12.2012 at 4:35 am

      Sorry to say, but you read it incorrectly, and it gives Dean Elmore’s words a totally different meaning. He was actually quite understanding when he said
      “this was a terrible end to a difficult year”.
      I’m sure Boston University will be as supportive as possible for these families and their friends.

    • Really on 05.12.2012 at 11:27 am

      Have you not been paying attention? This HAS been a difficult year for our community, I can’t believe you feel the need to mock Dean Elmore’s commentary. Please, have some respect.

      • Tom on 05.12.2012 at 1:31 pm

        I don’t think the guy was mocking Dean Elmore’s commentary, I think he was mocking the author of the article’s introduction of the quote.

  • Doreen on 05.11.2012 at 11:35 pm

    I am so sad and heartbroken. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and I hope for a speedy recovery for the students who were injured.

    • Rachel on 05.12.2012 at 12:04 pm

      i can barely speak. God bless you. My cousin was in the crash, but thank God she was in the other van. Many of her very close friends passed away or are in critical injury. She cannot speak at all. Please pray for her and her friends, and their families. As my prayers go out to them as well.

  • Joseph H on 05.11.2012 at 11:44 pm

    A tragic end to a tragic year. Thoughts and Prayers to family and friends of the deceased and injured.

  • Chris on 05.12.2012 at 12:08 am

    Tragedies need to stop happening already. This year has been so unfortunate.

  • J on 05.12.2012 at 12:08 am

    This are very sad news… they are mentioned in the local newspaper as well: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10805383

    Love to all the families and friends

  • Eric on 05.12.2012 at 1:17 am

    Thoughts go out to all of them and their families.Truly tragic news…

  • Kelly on 05.12.2012 at 1:25 am

    Condolences from New Zealand.

  • Rest in Peace on 05.12.2012 at 2:50 am

    My thoughts go out to everyone impacted by this tragedy. I personally will miss Austin’s enthusiasm for life. I truly wish that I had known him better. May all of the victims rest in peace and the injured recover swiftly. BU has all of you in our hearts tonight.

    • Tom Brashears on 09.07.2012 at 4:50 am

      Thank you for your kind words about my son, Austin Brashears. His family and friends miss him each and everyday. Please continue to live your life with that enthusiasm you saw him display and “Do it for the story”. http://www.austinbrashears.com

  • Chris on 05.12.2012 at 3:24 am

    As a New Zealander, I’m so sad to hear about what happened to these young people while exploring our beautiful country. My thoughts are with their family and friends.

  • M on 05.12.2012 at 3:52 am

    This is awful. I feel so bad for those kids and their families.

  • Maggie Gresson on 05.12.2012 at 3:57 am

    We are hosting Alys McAlpine at our office. My home landline, mobile and email are running hot here on Saturday night in New Zealand. We love Alys and are all concerned for her well being – but we are also devastated by the loss to Boston University and the families of the students who have lost their lives. Our thoughts are with you all. xxx

  • Henry on 05.12.2012 at 4:19 am

    I was going to work with Austin next year…what is going on? I don’t even…

    • Tom Brashears on 09.07.2012 at 4:52 am

      I am Austin’s Dad and have found comfort in the comments that have been posted here, notes and cards of condolence, etc Please remember to live your life to the fullest each and every day….Do it for the Story!

  • Joe on 05.12.2012 at 5:19 am

    Austin was such a great guy. I’ll miss him so much. Thoughts & prayers to the families of those who passed. And Meg I hope you make a full and speedy recovery!

    • Tom Brashears on 09.07.2012 at 4:55 am

      Thank you Joe, I am Austin’s Dad and we miss him too. The kind words, thoughts and prayers have sustained us as we figured out how to get through this tragedy. Please take the good you saw in Austin and use it to enrich your life, “do it for the story”!! http://www.austinbrashears.com

  • Karina on 05.12.2012 at 5:32 am

    My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the friends and families that were affected by this tragedy. To those who lost their lives…may you forever R.I.P.

  • Sue on 05.12.2012 at 5:51 am

    Just wanted to say from New Zealand how very sad I am. They will be sadly missed. Love and prayers to the families.

  • Terry on 05.12.2012 at 6:40 am

    My deepest sympathies and prayers to the families of those lost. I will continue to pray for them and for the survivors.

  • GS on 05.12.2012 at 7:22 am

    Simply heartbreaking …..

  • Patricia Watkins on 05.12.2012 at 8:06 am

    God Bless them all

  • Susan and Jeff Bruno on 05.12.2012 at 9:02 am

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost their beloved children. As parents of a BU freshman, we feel part of the BU extended family. We all need to support each other and remember that we should never hold our children back from pursuing their dreams. Our prayers are also with the children who were injured for a speedy recovery.

  • James on 05.12.2012 at 9:03 am

    As a New Zealander I want to express my sympathy to the people involved in this tragedy and to their family and friends. People here in NZ are saddened by this crash, and we wish all the survivors a speedy recovery.

  • Diann Fisher on 05.12.2012 at 9:20 am

    My deepest prayers go out to all of those students and their families. As a parent of a BU grad student who participated in the Auckland Study Abroad program as an undergrad, I feel somehow connected to them without even knowing them personally. It breaks my heart to hear this news. God Speed for a quick recovery to those injured and to those students who are deceased and their families… My sincere condolences. New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen… It truly is God’s Country… May your children rest in peace with God in the land of the Long White Cloud.

    • Student on 05.12.2012 at 10:24 am

      beautifully put

  • Championnet's mates on 05.12.2012 at 10:23 am

    Very sad… condolences from all Roch former basketball teammates in Paris…

  • Peter Miller on 05.12.2012 at 10:33 am

    My son, David Miller, is one of the BU students in NZ this semester. We spoke this morning and he’s OK, wasn’t in the van that had the accident, but is shaken up. My deepest sympathy to families who are affected. They were all having such a fantastic experience in NZ.

    • susie perkins on 05.12.2012 at 5:18 pm

      Jamie perkins is my son..he was also in one of the vans but i only know specifics from what i have read… I have not spoken to him since early this morning..i know he was not hurt in the accident but this is devastating if you have any news to share and vice versa.

      thankful and sorrowful


      • Lynda Rodil on 05.13.2012 at 7:06 pm

        Kyle Snow is a friend of my daughter Emily and spent time at our home here in Boston. My heart was crushed when I heard the news Saturday morning. Kyle is okay but I am sure devastated by this loss. My prayers got out to the families of the students who died and also to the families of the survivors. May they find comfort somehow.

        • Janet on 05.15.2012 at 2:50 pm

          Kyle is my son (he was in the second van). Thank you all for your kind words and prayers. He’s doing ok but as I’m sure all the parents do, I worry about him. It’s so hard with him so far away.

          My thoughts and prayers are with all the families. I am looking for a way to contact the O’Brien’s – the family that was there to help our kids. Does anyone know a way to do that?

          • Ali on 05.16.2012 at 2:48 am

            First of all condolences to all the family and friends of those lost. Kia Kaha. Janet if you contact TV3 news desk (who did the interview with the O’Briens) I am sure they would help you get in touch or contact them on your behalf.

          • Janet on 05.16.2012 at 9:40 am

            Thank you Ali so much! I’ll try that…

            Thanks again to all of you posting…Kyle said last night that it really helps reading the supportive messages here and on facebook…keep them coming… they will continue to need our support.


  • BU Parent on 05.12.2012 at 10:38 am

    Thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the BU students, families, and everyone else hit by this tragedy. We met Austin last year at Open House. I really connected with him and we talked a lot. His hometown is just a few miles away and he allayed my parental concerns since BU is a very different environment and far from home. I also remember he was working on arranging his study abroad and was really excited about it. He definitely played a role in my son choosing BU.

  • S. Ghosh on 05.12.2012 at 10:53 am

    Very sad news. Nothing we can say will make up for the loss their families and friends suffered, but my condolences nevertheless.

  • BU Mom on 05.12.2012 at 11:06 am

    My deepest condolences & prayers for the families & friends of all affected by this horrible tragedy. My daughter participated in this program several years ago and the friends she made while in New Zealand are her heart. They were an incredibly tight-knit group as I’m sure these kids are as well. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for everyone, but I do know those kids will pull together & help each other through this awful time. My thoughts are with you all.

  • Virginia Morgan on 05.12.2012 at 11:09 am

    I am a parent of a student in the BU abroard program there in Auckland now who was not on the trip. What are you doing for those students’ counseling?

  • CB on 05.12.2012 at 12:25 pm

    My prayer is that through this very challenging situation all involved will come & draw close to the Creator of heaven & earth, God Almighty,the only One who can truly minister to every & specific need in this time of challenges. May you always remember God is not the cause of trategies, He is a very present Help in time of trouble/challenge,as close as your breath, a friend indeed speak to Him. I am confident, He who knows all, the Creator of your loved ones when trusted in faith has all the answers to the ? you may have, relationship w/Him is awesome. Remain blessed.

    • snm on 05.12.2012 at 1:40 pm

      please, take your offensive comments elsewhere. i do not appreciate you taking advantage of this tragedy to peddle your useless ideas.

      • Peter in NZ on 05.12.2012 at 6:25 pm

        Couldn’t agree more, if he’s so great, and all powerful, why wouldn’t he have prevented this ? Hugely immoral not to have if you could, therefore showing “his” true moral character, or his nonexistence, I suspect the latter…

        • SM on 05.13.2012 at 1:41 pm

          This is not an offensive comment.

          These people, some whom are my friends, are in my thoughts & prayers. I am praying to God for their souls and for the recovery of the injured. When my friends die, they don’t just disappear. They are in God’s hands.

          I believe your comment was more offensive than the original one.

        • james on 05.14.2012 at 8:05 am

          Your petty egoism knows no bounds. please go think out loud somewhere else so the people actually concerned with the victims and their families can offer their support and do so without being compromised by the petty resentment of your ilk. equating a few “god bless you”s to forceful conversion is ridiculous and selfish.

      • james on 05.14.2012 at 6:44 am

        if any of the kids who died were brought up in religious families then CB’s comments are appropriate because they offer consolation to their loved ones in a way they can relate to. You are obviously too concerned with using this as a platform to consider that very likely possibility. noone is forbidding secular condolences or non christian references thus your compulsive victim hood as an atheist is unfounded.

    • .... on 05.12.2012 at 4:39 pm

      if someone would like to turn to religion to cope, let them do so, but please do not push your strong and blind-sighted religious beliefs onto others.

      • condolences on 05.13.2012 at 1:32 am

        If someone would like to keep their religion to themself, let them do so, but please do not push your strong and blind-sighted anti-religious beliefs onto others.

        That is to say… while you feel CB should not impose his/her beliefs upon others, you are imposing your belief that people should keep their beliefs to themselves upon CB… thus doing the very thing you are telling CB to refrain from.

        If someone is ill in bed, one might offer them extra pillows, a glass of water, soup, medecine… and the ill reserves the right to accept or refuse such offers that the offerer surely presents with hopes of comforting the ill. CB is only offering what he/she believes will comfort the grieving and distressed… it is up to them whether they choose to go that route or not.

        Deepest sympathies to all. Hoping and praying for healing and comfort. May you find it very near.

      • james on 05.14.2012 at 6:45 am

        you first

  • Dan on 05.12.2012 at 12:39 pm

    Austin was a vibrant and generous soul and all of us who knew him will sincerely miss him. My thoughts and prayers to all of the family and friends affected by this tragedy. I am weeping with you…

    • Tom Brashears on 09.07.2012 at 4:58 am

      Dan, I am Austin’s Father and couldn’t agree with you more. He taught me things daily! The thoughts and prayers are what has sustained my family to the point. Please draw from the good all around you, if you saw good in Austin then use it to improve your life and the life of others. “Do it for the story” http://www.austinbrashears.com

  • BU parent on 05.12.2012 at 12:47 pm

    Regarding counseling for the other students, the article says, “Willis Wang, vice president and associate provost for global programs for the University, said the Auckland program has added additional counseling services. Wang also said that two New Zealand Universities associated with the program, the University of Auckland and the Auckland University of Technology, have extended their counseling services to BU students who are studying abroad.”

  • Rich F on 05.12.2012 at 12:56 pm

    My condolences go out to the family and friends of everyone involved in this tragedy.

  • Another BU parent on 05.12.2012 at 1:09 pm

    How awful. My daughter and her friends drove around New Zealand on their study abroad last semester. It could have been any of us mourning our loss. Deepest and sincerest condolences. What unimaginable pain.

  • Lisa Gittelman Udi on 05.12.2012 at 1:20 pm

    I am also a parent of a student in the BU program in NZ. Adam was not on the trip, but all of the students are terribly upset. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the deceased and to all of the students on the program. My thoughts are with you all.

  • Steve L on 05.12.2012 at 1:21 pm

    My condolences and prayers to the families who have lost their child. God Speed to those who are recovering from injuries, and those who are in trauma from this horrific tragedy. The BU family is big, and spread out around the world. Today, we all need to come together to support those in need. For all of the students, friends, and mourners, please go to the Marsh Chapel at 8pm this evening to show your support, and to grieve together at the candlelight vigil. Family and support are the greatest saviors to help everyone get through this most difficult time.

  • Amy M Laskowski on 05.12.2012 at 2:15 pm

    We removed one offensive comment, thank you for letting us know.– BU Today

  • BU '09 on 05.12.2012 at 2:20 pm

    The students and I didn’t overlap at BU, so I don’t know any of them personally, but having looked them up, I’m reminded of how connected the BU community can be. I studied abroad, I worked for Orientation, I volunteered with the CSC. I would have known these kids, would have been their friend, their coworker, lived on their floor. This is a profoundly sad moment for BU and my heart goes out to all involved.

  • Becky Castro on 05.12.2012 at 3:08 pm

    My sincerest sympathies to the families of these students…And to all of their friends…I can’t stop crying and I don’t even know you…May you somehow get through this terrible tragedy…

  • r.saunders on 05.12.2012 at 4:03 pm

    so sad to happen,to be along way from loved ones .. kia kaha to all the family and friends.

  • a parent on 05.12.2012 at 4:09 pm

    Our daughter is also on the program right now but was not on this trip. She is friends with all the deceased. They are all devastated. To the other parents here, I emailed the program director there who emailed me right back and answered all my questions. His email is in the packet we all got.

  • cristina on 05.12.2012 at 5:53 pm

    I feel so bad for the families, they just lost 3 smart people. And those students had a great future ahead of them.

  • glenn on 05.12.2012 at 5:57 pm

    A New Zealander devastated for the families and friends… New Zealanders are known for their warmth and friendliness, our scenery is breathtakingly beautiful, but our roads in remote mountainous areas can be treacherous…a small country on the other side of the world grieves for our American friends

    • Diann Fisher on 05.13.2012 at 7:46 am

      Glenn, you are so right. New Zealanders are the most warm, welcoming and generous of people. I think it is the people of New Zealand that enhances all the natural beauty there. I was very impressed with the spirit of the people and the Country as a whole. I am sure the families thank all of you New Zealanders who grieve with them and pray for their families in this devastating time.

      If I may be so bold…On behalf of the BU Community, Thank you to all those from New Zealand who have posted kind words. I know you are a people who truly care from the heart.

  • kay on 05.12.2012 at 6:27 pm

    deepest sympathies to the families of all involved in this extreme tragedy
    and a speedy recovery to those injured.

  • BH on 05.12.2012 at 7:25 pm

    Our daughter was in the Auckland program a few years ago and it was a life-changing experience. I cannot imagine the pain of the families and friends of these students. My heart goes out to all of them and I wish for healing for everyone who has been affected by this tragedy. We all grieve with you.

  • BU Alum on 05.12.2012 at 7:51 pm

    As a BU alum who spent a semester studying abroad during her time at BU, I think I speak for the entire BU community spread throughout the world that this is in unspeakable tragedy and that our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loves ones of those who perished in this accident. Our hearts are with you!

  • B on 05.12.2012 at 7:58 pm

    My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends. Prayers and thoughts are with you. BU students are some of the best and brightest so this is truly a great loss.

  • Damian on 05.12.2012 at 8:34 pm

    I am a New Zealander, I know the area where the crash happened. I just thought I would stop by your University website, and say how sad we as a community over here feel for the loss of those three students. Our thoughts are with the family and friends and all affected by this tragedy

  • Bryan on 05.12.2012 at 8:39 pm

    Thoughts from my family in Christchurch New Zealand go tho the families and friends who have lost loved ones in this tragedy. Kia kaha (Be strong).

  • Paula M on 05.12.2012 at 8:45 pm

    I’m a New Zealander and I just wanted to let you all know that the families and friends of these young students are in our thoughts and prayers. It is so devastating. It’s also very poignant as it’s Mother’s Day here today and we can’t help thinking about the 3 Mum’s who have lost their sons and daughter. Our deepest sympathy to you all.

  • cheryl stone on 05.12.2012 at 9:18 pm

    Absolute condolences to all the families who lost their children, New Zealand grieves with you. From Cheryl and Grant Stone, Auckland New Zealand.

  • Lalper on 05.12.2012 at 10:19 pm

    My deepest sympathies to immediate families and all those affected by this horrendous tragedy. We do not know what caused it but I must also stress that it is an accident that can happen anywhere in the world due to a mechanical or human error. Since I have done a two months campervan trip in the north and south islands, I can say most New Zealand roads are pretty good, as in any other developed country including US. Only thing you need to be very careful is, it is a country that drives on the left hand side, like in UK or Japan.

  • David on 05.12.2012 at 10:57 pm

    From New Zealand I greet you. At times like this there are never any words that can make the keen sting of loss feel any less painful. Know only that we care and our hearts are breaking also.

    Looking at the profiles of these young people, with shiny faces, happy smiles – they were vibrant, intelligent young people living their dreams. That is how we will always remember them.

    I am reminded of a poignant poem “For the Fallen” that has very deep meaning for New Zealand and New Zealanders. It helps us when we remember the young people who went to war as vibrant, intelligent people living their dreams but who gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom and never came home. The final stanza of the poem I offer to you at this time, as you remember your loved ones …

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
    We will remember them.

  • KiwiGirl on 05.13.2012 at 12:46 am

    As a New Zealander, it saddens me to find out about this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this. Nothing can be said to ease the pain you all are going through.

  • Rod on 05.13.2012 at 2:27 am

    May I add my voice in sympathy for those mourning the untimely, totally tragic loss of young, bright lives. As one of my daughters had the privilege of a happy and productive year at your university’s law school some years ago, I humbly claim by proxy a particular association with your university. I still vividly recall the magnificent commencement ceremony we attended when she graduated, including the speech of a student self-identified as ‘a girl from a trailer park” for whom BU was to be a stepping stone to Oxford. Sincere condolences from Auckland, New Zealand

  • Lauren on 05.13.2012 at 4:14 am

    I’m so sorry. It hurts that this happened in my own country. I’m comforted by the reports that they were having a good experience here before being taken so abruptly and tragically. I hope the survivors are being cared for by my fellow kiwis and I hope the families of those lost can find strength.


  • Rev on 05.13.2012 at 4:21 am

    Sending our warm heartfelt sincere condolences to all the Families & friends of these precious young people,tragicly lost. May our thoughts comfort and Rest with them and their Families

  • Glenn on 05.13.2012 at 4:47 am

    This is such a tragic and sad event – my condolences to all involved. Glenn Christchurch New Zealand

  • Hannah from NZ on 05.13.2012 at 5:05 am

    As kiwi I want to express my deepest deepest sympathies to the families and friends of 3 people that lost their lost their lives here. You are all in my thoughts and prayers at this extremely difficult time. Kia Kaha, stay strong.

  • Stella Johnston on 05.13.2012 at 6:38 am

    As a New Zealander, I am shocked and saddened to hear this news. I am so so sad that these three young people enjoying their study abroad tragically lost their lives this weekend. They had their whole futures ahead of them. Thoughts and condolences are with their families, friends, and Boston University at this tragic time. Also thinking of the students from the other vans that were also in a group, and I hope a lot of support is being provided to you all at this heartbreaking time.

  • Benyo , AUT Student on 05.13.2012 at 9:42 am

    Such a sad tragic loss. I make friends with a lot of the American exchange students that come to Auckland, after myself doing a high school exchange to Weymouth MA. Didn’t have the privilege of meeting these students.

    No words can express what their family and friends must be going through. deepest sympathies go out to you all back in America. – Ben, Auckland, NZ

  • BU'10 on 05.13.2012 at 10:56 am

    May they rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers to the family, friends, and especially to the other students on the trip who are undoubtedly going through an incredibly difficult time while away from home. We send you strength.

  • ... on 05.13.2012 at 5:25 pm

    My heart breaks for those involved, those who loved them and the BU community. Stay strong.

  • robyn on 05.13.2012 at 5:25 pm

    My whanau (family) and I extend our sincerest condolences on the tragic loss of your loved ones whilst here in our country. Know that we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

    Ma te pouri ka kitea koe te pai – From the sadness search for the rays of light.

    Kia kaha – keep strong.

  • Lorraine on 05.13.2012 at 6:51 pm

    As a parent and a New Zealander connected to BU Sydney, I send my condolences to the parents and families and friends of these young people. No words can express my sadness, but you are all in my thoughts. I pray that you find acceptance and comfort in your grief.

  • Joyce on 05.13.2012 at 7:52 pm

    As a kiwi I send my deepest condolences to you, from New Zealand. I’m at the University of Otago and we are all feeling it. xx

  • BU parent's mate on 05.14.2012 at 12:01 am

    I am an Australian who has lived in New Zealand for many years. I had the good fortune to meet BU parent’s son in Melbourne four or five years ago – a very fine young man indeed. I had encouraged BU parent to arrange for his son to spend a semester at either an Australian or New Zealand university in the same way as the BU students involved in the tragic accident, so it has really hit home to me. I can honestly say that the whole of New Zealand has been shocked at the tragic deaths of some fine young people who had the vision to come to study in a country many many miles from their own. My condolences also to the BU community and the families touched by this accident.

  • BU Auckland Students on 05.14.2012 at 1:30 am

    From all of us BU students currently in Auckland, your words of support really do make a difference. We are all supportive of each other and will get through this together. Thank you.

    • M on 05.14.2012 at 5:23 pm

      Please know that everyone back home holds you in their hearts and can’t wait to welcome you back so that we can support you in person.

    • Edith on 05.15.2012 at 7:13 am

      To all of you, BU students in Auckland,
      I’m Roch’s Mom.
      I just wanted to thank you all for the amazing time Roch was having with you guys. Roch kept telling me “promise, Mom, when I’m back in June, I’ll tell you everything about my fabulous adventures” ! It is so heartwarming to know that he was having a blast. I know his friends was the most important thing in his life and you have been great friends to him. Please do keep his smile and laughs in your heart, particularly during hard times. I wish you all the happiest of life and I’ll always be thinking of you all, sharing his last months. With Love, Edith

      • Janet on 05.15.2012 at 2:56 pm

        Dear, dear Edith – Words cannot express my sincerest sorrow for your loss. My son, Kyle, has spoken so highly of your son – I believe they played basketball together. We are heartbroken and devastated. Please know that you are constantly in our thoughts and prayers.
        I wish we could do more…
        Love, Janet (Kyle’s mom)

      • a bu auckland parent on 05.18.2012 at 8:55 am

        Dear Edith,
        I am so very, very sorry for your loss. We are devastated by what has happened. My daughter is one of the students there now but she was not on the trip to Taupo. She is so very sad and heartbroken by the loss of Roch and Austin and Daniela.
        Our family is absolutely heartbroken for you. Love to your family from ours.

      • No one special on 11.13.2012 at 3:01 pm

        Roch <3

  • DeadlyPorpoise on 05.14.2012 at 2:06 am

    As a British expat living in NZ, I join all Kiwis in saying that we extend all our sympathies to all affected by this terrible accident.

  • revathi on 05.14.2012 at 10:05 am

    This is very tragic. I extend my condolences to the three families who suffered a great loss.

  • Nika on 05.14.2012 at 10:09 am

    As someone who has had the privelage to take part in the BU Study Abroad Program in Auckland two years ago, all I can do is offer my deepest condolences. I have had a chance to speak with some of my former classmates with whom I shared this absolutely amazing trip, and we still cannot process just what it is you all are going through. Stay strong. Stay strong and love as hard as you can. You are in all of our thoughts.

  • Kaitlyn on 05.14.2012 at 10:54 am

    I had the privilege of working with Austin at Agganis Arena last year. He was such an amazing co-worker. It was always fun and lively, but also hard working and dependable. When I had to write a story about a sporting event for one of my COM classes, he helped me sit in a water polo practice and let me interview him for the story. He was just one of the nicest, friendliest people I met during my time at BU, and I am deeply saddened to hear about this tragic accident. My thoughts and prayers go out to Austin’s family and friends and the families and friends of all the victims, as well as their fellow students on the study abroad program.

    • Tom Brashears on 09.07.2012 at 5:03 am

      Kaitlyn, I am Austin’s Dad and would love to read the story that you wrote about Austin. I can be contacted at twiceeagle@gmail.com. The thoughts and prayers of those that knew Austin have helped us deal with all that we have been dealt. Please remeber to “do it for the story”! http://www.austinbrashears.com

  • SKAP54 on 05.14.2012 at 11:16 am

    So sorry to hear this sad news. Study abroad is so important to education nowadays yet it is not without risks. As a study abroad professional myself I dread to hear of such accidents. You all in BU and the victims friends and families are in my prayers. May the good Lord give you the strength you need to go through this tragedy.

  • Kiwi on 05.14.2012 at 3:34 pm

    If you listen, you can hear the collective voices of sadness & dispair from of all of us here in Aotearoa (NZ). We send you our love, thoughts, condolences and prayers for the tragic and unimaginable loss of these three, beautiful, irreplaceable young lives. We mourn with you and will take extraordianry care of those who were injured and touched by this horror event.

    Your precious, beloved children – will now also be our own precious, beloved children and we promise to honour their memory and remember their names forever.

    Deepest, heartfelt sympathies from all of New Zealand. Kia Kaha!

  • Endicott College International Programs Office on 05.14.2012 at 4:18 pm

    On behalf our Endicott College community, we want to extend our deep condolences to the B.U. community, the families and friends of those involved in this tragic accident, and to all those in New Zealand.

  • Theresa Mazur on 05.14.2012 at 4:29 pm

    My deepest heartfelt sympathies to all the families at this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. I did not know your son or daughter personalize but my daughter who lives in New Zealand did know as she mentored and work with them for a short time during their time in New Zealand.

    My the Lord watch over your family and guide you in this difficult time

  • Fitrec Baller on 05.14.2012 at 5:07 pm

    Roch was a friend from the BU fitrec basketball courts that I will never forget, his energy and positive attitude will forever push me to achieve better in life.

    • Edith on 05.15.2012 at 7:16 am

      Thank you !
      I am Roch’s Mom. It is so heartwarming to know that Roch will be in the heart of his friends, basketball buddies. Please keep his energy with you and have a great life.
      With Love,

  • Another BU Mom on 05.14.2012 at 8:49 pm

    My daughter was also in this program last year, and traveled around beautiful NZ just like these guys did. My heart goes out to all the students and families devastated by this terrible accident.

  • NZmds_Student on 05.14.2012 at 10:51 pm

    My condolences to the families of the victims and students of BU. Pray for a speedy recovery to those injured and to the hearts of those mourning.

  • from France on 05.15.2012 at 1:47 am

    My deepest condoleances to the families, parents, brothers and sisters and their friends. May you find peace in this painful tragedy.
    I wish the best recovery for the injured also.
    Thinking especially about Roch. The kindest friend, with a rare gift for radiating happiness and love.

  • BU Parent on 05.15.2012 at 4:59 pm

    My daughter was one of the survivors of the minivan crash and was hospitalized in Rotaruo. We want to thank the entire BU and Univ. Auckland community for their support. We also want to thank the NZ EMT and Rotaruo Hospital trauma center for their kindness an professionalism. The US Consulate Office was also exceptional.

    Our prayers and thoughts are with those who suffered the greatest. These three young men and women will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are also with Meg and her family during her ordeal, and we hope for a prompt recovery.

  • Trish Farrimond on 05.17.2012 at 9:26 pm

    The people of New Zealand are saddened by this tragedy. My thoughts go out to all the families and friends of the Boston Uni students involved. Kia Kaha.

  • eileen l. on 06.26.2012 at 10:07 am

    My deepest sympathies to all the parents, brothers, sisters, friends and extended families that lost thier beloved children that fateful morning in May. Nothing is worse than losing a child. Just a sensless tragedy. No words can express how my heart goes out to you now. I have read the story several times, on each of the students who died, as well as the young girl with the head injury. These young people were wonderful human beings, educated, curious, adventurous, so much to live for. It is so very difficult to comprehend why these things happen. Why them? I lost a daughter years ago, quite suddenly and went through all the stages that Kiebler Ross writes in her book on grief. Although I don’t know you, I as a mother know the raw pain you are experiencing. Joining “compassionate Friends” when you are ready will help. The memory and spirit of your beautiful children will live on forever in yours and others hearts. I am constantly praying for all of you.


    Eileen L
    Dumont, New Jersey

  • NettieL on 06.29.2012 at 2:27 pm

    Just goes to show you can never tell what is gonna happen next in life and no matter how you prepare, there is no stopping the inevitable. Our deepest condolences to those who lost their lives in this odd tragedy.

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