Wellington today, October 6: Search for missing woman, reports of car driving erratically prior to fatal crash

Kia ora Pōneke. Here’s what you need to know from The Dominion Post today, plus breaking news and events from around the capital.

1.10pm: Police name man who died in Kāpiti Coast crash

Police have named a man who died on State Highway 1 on the Kāpiti Coast last night.

Francis Heard, 61, of Horowhenua died at the scene of the crash about 7.50pm, near the intersection of Te Hapua Rd in Te Horo.

An investigation into the circumstances of the crash are ongoing.

12.30pm: Appeal for sightings of missing woman

Police are appealing for sightings of a missing 70-year-old woman, who was last seen in the Hutt Valley area shortly before midnight last night.

Gloria Reriti is of average build, about 157cm tall, and is possibly wearing black or leopard print tights.

“Gloria is believed to be in the Naenae or central Lower Hutt area and may be using public transport,” police said in a statement.

Police have concerns for her wellbeing and extensive inquiries are being made to locate her.

If you have seen Reriti or have any information which could assist police in locating her, please contact 111 and quote file number 211006/4224.

Gloria Reriti is missing in Wellington.


Gloria Reriti is missing in Wellington.

11.15am: Witnesses reported car driving erratically prior to fatal crash

Witnesses at the scene of last night’s fatal crash on State Highway 1 on the Kāpiti Coast told police they had seen a vehicle driving erratically prior to the crash, a police spokesman said.

“That information is part of the ongoing investigation into the circumstances of this incident.”

Police are appealing for information from the public, in particular, anyone who saw a black 1998 Nissan Terrano travelling northbound prior to the crash is asked to contact police by calling 105 and quoting event number P048176036.

Drivers of vehicles in the area with dash cams are also asked to check for any footage, police said.

9.35am: Stranded vehicles and beach rescues after State Highway 1 closed overnight due to fatal crash

Cars were left at a standstill for several hours overnight after a fatal crash closed State Highway 1, on the Kāpiti Coast, resulting in motorists driving onto a beach to avoid the delays and needing to be rescued.

Byrin Malone, who lives in Peka Peka, described the situation as “carnage” as cars battled against high tide on the coast to get across the beach and avoid the traffic.

A two-car crash just before 7.50pm near the intersection of Te Hapua Rd in Te Horo fully closed the SH1 until after 1am.

In a statement at 10.20pm, police said there were no diversions in place and the highway was expected to remain closed between Waikanae and Te Horo for several more hours.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency issued a final update saying traffic had fully cleared by 3am.

One person died at the scene and another person was flown to Wellington Hospital in serious condition.

Read the full report here.


Wednesday might be a mixed bag weather-wise, with low cloud or fog lifting in the morning, but showers creeping in from the afternoon. A northerly wind will develop. The high is forecast for 17 degrees Celsius

Wellington Regional Hospital’s emergency department is under extra stress due to the city’s housing crisis.


Wellington Regional Hospital’s emergency department is under extra stress due to the city’s housing crisis.

Long stays at stretched Wellington Hospital leading to ‘unsafe’ overcrowding

A housing crisis is putting extra strain on already stretched resources at Wellington Regional Hospital, as older patients and those with complex needs make extended stays because they have nowhere else to go.

The problem is exacerbating a significant shortage of beds and staff, and has been detailed in the agenda for a Capital & Coast District Health Board meeting on Wednesday.

Between May 31 and August 1, more than 40 patients a week were classified as “long stay” – those who spent more than a week in hospital. They included seven people who had stayed more than three months, one of whom had been there more than 18 months.

“A group of extremely complex patients remain unable to be discharged because community services and supports are reluctant to support these patients on discharge either due to extremely high needs, complex behaviour, housing issues, or health and safety concerns for service staff,” the board agenda says.

Read the full story from Brittany Keogh here.

Shipwreck sculpture to be the heart of inner-city Wellington waterfront redevelopment

A new sculpture honouring Wellington’s maritime history will be installed at the heart of a major plaza on the capital’s inner-city waterfront.

The Grove was commissioned from Whanganui-born artist Glen Hayward and will sit on the newly developed Kumutoto Plaza area near the new PwC building on Customhouse Quay and upcoming 12-storey BNZ headquarters.

The artwork is made of recycled wood from a former Wellington ferry wharf and consists of 15 4-metre-high “copper headed nails” hammered into the pavement.

A small park is being developed as part of the rejuvenation of the plaza area, which is designed to be both a pedestrian gateway and public space.

Read the full story from Andre Chumko here.

The Grove courtesy of Wellington Sculpture Trust.


The Grove courtesy of Wellington Sculpture Trust.

Kāpiti Airport: Group offers vision for land, including 2000 homes and avionics tech hub

Retail and hospitality, an avionics hub, 2000 new homes and an airport less than half its current land area is part of a new vision for Kāpiti Coast Airport.

The plan for a reimagined airport was launched at business networking event on Wednesday by Kāpiti Air Urban​, a group formerly called Save Kāpiti Airport. The airport is owned by property developer Templeton Group, which purchased the land in 2019.

But the airport’s chief executive, Chris Simpson​, said Templeton was taking the time to develop its own plans for the airport and had been working alongside hapū.

“I know nothing about [the group’s vision] and they don’t want to engage,” he said.

Kāpiti Coast Airport chief executive Chris Simpson says he knew nothing about Kāpiti Air Urban's vision. (File photo)

Ross Giblin/Stuff

Kāpiti Coast Airport chief executive Chris Simpson says he knew nothing about Kāpiti Air Urban’s vision. (File photo)

Read the full story by Mandy Te here.

Hospitality operators want certainty on Covid vaccination certificates

Hospitality operators struggling with Covid-19 restrictions say the Government’s newly announced vaccination certificates must be mandatory when introduced this summer.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday the passes, available from November, would be required for entry to “high-risk events and venues” including summer festivals.

“We are also consulting on their use in places like hospitality,” she said.

The certificates will confirm that someone is fully vaccinated, and can be presented on a smartphone or on paper.

Jamie Williams, chief executive of Wellington hospitality group Kāpura, said he would prefer if vaccine certificates were mandated for customers to rule out any confusion.

The group has 35 hospitality businesses, including restaurants and bars.

“Whatever system the Government designs, it needs to be easy for staff to understand and easy for customers to understand, because conflict happens between those groups of people if the rules aren’t clear.”

Read the full story here.

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