• Art Jahnke

    Senior Contributing Editor

    Art Janke

    Art Jahnke began his career at the Real Paper, a Boston area alternative weekly. He has worked as a writer and editor at Boston Magazine, web editorial director at CXO Media, and executive editor in Marketing & Communications at Boston University, where his work was honored with many awards. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 121 comments on Weekend of New Zealand Beauty Ends in Tragedy

    1. 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.

      1. 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).

    2. 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.

    3. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

    1. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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


      1. 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.

        1. 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?

          1. 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.

          2. 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.


  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

      1. 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…

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

      2. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  15. 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…

    1. 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

  16. 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.”

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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…

  22. 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.

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

  24. 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

    1. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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).

  30. 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.

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

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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.


  37. 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

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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)

      2. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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!

  51. 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.

  52. 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

  53. 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.

    1. 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,

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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

  60. 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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