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Woman with critical injuries flown to NZ

Thursday 10 February 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Local, National

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Woman with critical injuries flown to NZ
Kathy Papatua, second from left, with husband Tuaine, right, with their family. PHOTO: GOFUNDME/ 22020901

Cook Islands woman Kathy Papatua has been flown to New Zealand where she remains in a critical condition following a crash involving two motorcycles on Rarotonga in the early hours of Monday morning.

Kathy Papatua is under observation at Auckland Hospital after an Air New Zealand flight transported her from Rarotonga on Tuesday.

Speaking to Cook Islands News on Wednesday, Kathy’s husband, Tuaine Papatua said he was flying from Rarotonga to Auckland yesterday to be by his wife’s side.

He said Kathy’s brother, who lives in New Zealand, was with her in Auckland.

“The only thing I can tell you is she is in very good hands, she is in the emergency room at Auckland Hospital.

“They are going through a lot of tests and screening at the moment,” Tuaine said yesterday.

Tuaine said he would go straight to Auckland Hospital to be at his wife’s side, as soon as he landed in New Zealand.

He said the incident had impacted a lot of people.

“I just want to say thank you to the whole world.

“The only thing in my mind is for her to be well, my faith is strong.

“When I get there, I pray she will be able to see me.”

Kathy was involved in crash with two other people after two motorcycles collided at Titikaveka in the early hours of Monday morning.

The incident attended by two ambulances was labelled a “serious trauma event”.

Early indications were that speed was a factor, causing one driver to cross into the path of an oncoming motorcycle, which was carrying two people, both in their 20s, who received fractures.  

Police were at the scene of the crash on Monday conducting forensic examinations and no charges have been laid.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up and had raised more than $3000 AUD on Wednesday.

A friend of Kathy’s son Nathan, Rhianne Merito, started the campaign on behalf of the family.

“Kathy was in a critical motorcycle accident and has sustained a severe traumatic brain injury as a result.

“She is currently intubated and ventilated in ICU and has been moved from the Cook Islands to New Zealand for medical treatment, which has put a lot of strain on the family.

“The road ahead is going to be the ultimate fight of Kathy Papatua’s life and any support will help the family during this time of need and assist with medical bills, travel and recovery costs.

“Nathan and his family are always the first to help and last to ask for anything so if you cannot offer a donation, keeping them in your prayers is more than enough.

“Thank you for your support at this difficult time!”

On social media, Ithiel Papatua posted on Tuesday; “Our Mum and Mama to our pepes was in a motorbike accident early yesterday morning and is currently in a coma with severe head injuries.

“We are asking for every believer, miracle worker and prayer warrior to pray for healing, strength and protection into our Mum’s life.

“Thank you to all our family in Rarotonga who have been there alongside our Dad the past 24 plus hours, while we are so far away and thank you to everyone all over the world who have already been praying for our Mum.

“We love and appreciate every single one of you and are claiming every prayer.

“We serve a mighty and wonderful God and know that she is fighting her faith in God and we are here waiting for her to wake up.”