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Pleas to drivers as dreams of Kiwi woman 'who lit up any room' end in fatal South Waikato crash

by August 29, 2017 General

An ambitious 27-year-old who lit up any room she entered and had plans to get married to the love of her life and travel the world will have her life celebrated with bubbles and champagne this week.

But as Alyisa Kelly’s close friends and family prepare for her funeral, they are also pleading with motorists to pull over if they feel tired after she was tragically killed in a car accident on Thursday in South Waikato.

Police Senior Sergeant Troy Fane said a south-bound car driven by tourists appeared to have crossed the centre line on State Highway 1 at Piarere and collided with the north-bound vehicle Kelly was a passenger in about 6.15pm.

Alyisa Kelly with her brother, Damon Kelly. Photo / Supplied

Alyisa Kelly with her brother, Damon Kelly. Photo / Supplied

Fane reminded drivers that the area was two hours from Auckland which was around the time fatigue kicked in.


The 43-year-old tourist driver of the south-bound vehicle has been charged with one count of careless driving causing death and two counts of careless causing injury. He is due to appear on Thursday at Hamilton District Court.

The passenger of the tourist vehicle remains in the intensive care unit at Waikato Hospital.

Kelly, who has been living in Sydney for four years, had been holidaying in New Zealand with her Australian boyfriend Isaac Ohlin. The couple were halfway through their trip and had been skiing and snowboarding at Mt Ruapehu before spending time in Mahia and Gisborne.

They had been on their way to Hamilton to have dinner with Kelly’s grandma Esther Kelly just before the crash happened.

Alyisa Kelly's father, Gordon Webster, best friend Ashley Busbridge and brother Damon Kelly hold a photo of her. Photo / Nikki Preston

Alyisa Kelly’s father, Gordon Webster, best friend Ashley Busbridge and brother Damon Kelly hold a photo of her. Photo / Nikki Preston

Gathered at Kelly’s grandmother’s house in Hamilton today, her friends and family – including her three siblings Melody Davis, Damon Kelly, Rebecca Davis, her father Gordon Webster and Ohlin who had been discharged from hospital but has both arms plastered – remembered an intelligent, social young woman who was always smiling.

“The comment we keep hearing from everyone is that when she walked into a room she would light it up,” Ohlin told the Herald.

When Kelly’s mother Janice died two years ago it made her more determined than ever to make the most of her life, her sister Rebecca Webster said.

“She had a very strong five-year plan which was to travel and they were going to come back and get married, get some kids out real a quick. She would be pregnant at 30 and kids at 31.”

Esther Kelly with a photo of her granddaughter. Photo / Nikki Preston

Esther Kelly with a photo of her granddaughter. Photo / Nikki Preston

Kelly had been dating Ohlin for two-and-a-half years. She often talked about their children being schooled internationally to support his dreams of being a diplomat.

She grew up in Hamilton before moving to Auckland with her mum when she was 8 years old, later attending Edgewater College and studying at Auckland University.

After graduating she was accepted into the Unilever leadership programme, which she moved to Sydney for. She had just completed the four-year programme, which included living in Singapore for six months.

Her brother Damon Kelly said: “She was very bubbly, kind-hearted, very caring, loved to dance. Very intelligent and very social.”

Kelly’s best friend since she was 8, Ashley Busbridge, 27, told how her mate was full of life and a high achiever.

“I remember we were in the car a little while ago and we were just driving along and she had Google maps going driving (Ohlin’s) car and I just turned to her and said, ‘You are so good at life’. She was like, ‘In some ways’ – and I said, ‘In just about everything’. She could just do everything.”

The day after Kelly died, Busbridge and four other friends got her name tattooed on their arms in memory of their friend.

Kelly had planned to take a seven-month sabbatical from February next year to travel around Central and South America with Busbridge and Ohlin.

Ohlin said Kelly had planned to start learning Spanish once she returned from her New Zealand trip and had wanted to Spanish dance over there.

Inspired by her boyfriend, Kelly was passionate about social issues including protecting the Great Barrier Reef from being mined and educating women in developing countries about sanitation issues.

Unilever are setting up a donation page where people can donate to a charity close to her heart in lieu of flowers and the company will match the amount raised.

Her funeral will be held at the Hamilton Gardens on Thursday at 2pm and her friends and family plan to celebrate her life with bubble wands, red balloons and plenty of champagne.