The father of an American honeymooner critically injured in a crash that claimed her husband's life has spoken of his family's harrowing ordeal.
Kirsten Steinke and Kallan Stithem were celebrating their marriage in New Zealand when their car collided with another vehicle near Waitomo Caves on September 22, killing Stithem and critically injuring his new wife. The couple had wed just four days earlier.
Kirsten's father Jim Steinke said his daughter remembers very little from the accident and it was not yet clear if she understands her husband had died in the accident.
"She's not cognitive of everything's that has occurred so she's struggling just where things are and timeframes, those sorts of things. Short-term memory is difficult," said Jim.
Jim travelled with his wife Gerri from the United States to be with her daughter as she recovered in Waikato Hospital.
"By all accounts she was in a pretty terrible state," said trauma specialist Grant Christey.
"She had multiple injuries...a very distressing situation for all, however the situation worked for her."
Kristen will make her way back home to Colorado in a few days on board an air ambulance.
Her parents say her biggest obstacle is her brain injury.
"She gets better every day. Everyday more of her life comes back to her and she gets more and more capable of looking at a full life again," said Jim.
Intersection a danger-zone
The intersection on State Highway 3 and Waitomo Caves Rd where the honeymooners collided with an oncoming cement truck is well known in the Waikato region as a danger zone.
The New Zealand Transport Agency has put cones at the intersection since the tragedy to warn drivers to be cautious.
They say they are looking into widening the road and installing a right-turning lane.
"It was actually safer a year ago before they made all these changes," said local business man Chris Lord.
"They cut down trees and the visibility was enhanced, but putting these traffic islands in have actually made it worse."
Earlier this year, a Canadian tourist died when her campervan
hit a truck at the same intersection.