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Muriwai Beach crash death: Rāhui lifted, vehicle access reopened

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Muriwai Beach has reopened to vehicles and a rāhui placed on it after 19-year-old Madison Chamberlain died in a ute crash has been lifted.

A police spokesman told the Herald inquiries into the crash, in which the ute flipped after allegedly “hooning” along the beach, were ongoing and police had not laid any charges.

A fisherman told the Herald he saw the ute “hooning” before flipping, throwing Chamberlain from the vehicle and crushing her.

Emergency services and two rescue helicopters rushed to the scene on Auckland’s west coast about 2.30pm on Sunday.

The incident led to calls for cars to be banned on the popular Auckland beach to stop similar deaths.

Rodney local board chair Brent Bailey told the Herald vehicles on the beach were in direct conflict with beachgoers who wanted to use it for activities like kite surfing or sunbathing.

“As a Muriwai resident and someone who supports the decision to ban [vehicles] I have sympathy for the regional park staff who have to deal with the amount of traffic and congestion and competing uses.

“The immature behaviour by a small segment of the community has already caused tragedy – and I think it’s probably avoidable.”

Resident Ed Donald said he’d been pushing for years to have better policing of vehicle access to the beach.

He said the current speed limit of 60km/h on the beach was ridiculous, and it should be dropped to 10km/h – as well as having police deployed to prosecute rule breakers.

“We have been asking and asking for more policing on the beach and they just say, ‘we don’t have the resources’.”

Muriwai Beach has reopened to vehicles.
Muriwai Beach has reopened to vehicles.

Donald said the death was “tragic” and feared further deaths could follow if action wasn’t taken.

“How many deaths do you need?”

The father of a teenager seriously injured when his motorbike collided with a ute on Muriwai Beach also said there needed to be some kind of ban on vehicles on parts of the beach.

Phil Hanson spoke out after Chamberlain’s death, saying news of the incident had brought back harrowing memories.

Emergency services and two rescue helicopters rushed to the scene on Auckland’s west coast about 2.30pm on Sunday. Photo / Tim Sullivan
Emergency services and two rescue helicopters rushed to the scene on Auckland’s west coast about 2.30pm on Sunday. Photo / Tim Sullivan

Hanson said he understood other members of the public wanting to feel a sense of adventure and wanting to share vehicle access to the beach.

But he acknowledged previous incidents and accidents – several fatalities included – that now made it an issue that needed to be addressed.

On Monday, Auckland Council said Muriwai Beach would be temporarily off-limits to vehicles as a rāhui was placed on the beach by Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara, in acknowledgement of the teen’s death.



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