22 Aug 2012

Small West Coast community in shock at boy's death

9:38 am on 22 August 2012

A small West Coast community is in shock after the death on Tuesday afternoon of a five-year-old boy, hit by the school bus he had just got off.

On Wednesday morning the police named the boy as Mahuri Bettjeman-Manawatu, of Hector.

The police say they are interviewing the bus driver and witnesses of the accident, which occurred at 3.10pm near the intersection of Curtis and Greenfield streets in Hector, a small settlement north of Granity.

A police spokesperson says a witness has told them that, after getting off the bus, the boy ran out in front of it as it turned a corner.

Mahuri was a pupil at Granity School, and principal Megan Rich says his death is an absolute tragedy.

"It's absolutely thrown us for a six," she told Morning Report. "Our thoughts go out to the whanau. It's every parent's worst nightmare, and we're just reeling. Parents should never bury their children, and with one so young it is pretty hard."

The police say they and Victim Support are working with the school to provide support to pupils, some of whom were on the bus at the time.