Whānau 'devastated' by Kawerau woman's death, say her memory will live on

Source: 1News

The whānau of the woman who died in the Bay of Plenty late last week have spoken out for the first time, saying they're "devastated" by their loss. 

Police officers seen on a street

Michelle Kaipara, 49, was found with critical injuries at a Hall Street property in Kawerau on Saturday afternoon. She died of her injuries. 

A 20-year-old man has since been charged with her murder and will appear in the Tauranga District Court later today. 

In a joint statement, her family described Kaipara as "the epitome of joy and love" and said her memory will live on through her children. 

"Our whānau is devastated. Michelle was the epitome of joy and love, and she will be sorely missed. Her memory lives on in her tamariki who are suffering severely at this time.

The family went on to thank the community for their outpouring of love and support for Kaipara's loved ones in wake of her death. 

"We grieve with you as we remember the beautiful lady Michelle was and the lovely memories she’s left etched on our minds and in our hearts."

A funeral service for Kaipara will be held later this week in Te Teko "to farewell our darling mother, sister, daughter, cousin, aunty, niece and friend." 

More details about the service can be found on the the Te Tangi Pānui Facebook page