'Bubbly' teenage girl fondly remembered


October 07, 2019 - 264 views

A teenager who died in a horse-riding accident at Omarama on Friday is being remembered as a "bubbly" girl by the people who knew her.

Eliza-Jayne Coetzee (13), of Omarama, died when she fell from the horse she had been riding in a paddock near Airport Rd, about 30km south of Twizel, in the Waitaki district.

It is understood she was riding in a paddock which is unused airport land.

Former North Otago Pony Club president Deb Rice said she knew Eliza-Jayne, but declined to comment further.

New Zealand Pony Club president Jane Simpson declined to comment when contacted by the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

The newspaper understands Eliza-Jayne was a pupil at Omarama School. Board of trustees chairman David Anderson declined to comment, and principal Kim McKenzie could not be contacted.

Tributes to Eliza-Jayne flooded social media shortly after police released her name late on Saturday afternoon.

One person said her "heart goes out to the family".

"Eliza was an amazing wee girl ... always had a smile on her face and such a bubbly wee girl. RIP Eliza-Jayne. You had a heart of gold."

Another shared a similar sentiment.

"Heartbreaking news. Eliza was such a amazing and bubbly girl, will miss her."

A third person described the teenager as a "beautiful wee soul" who was "taken way too soon".

A contributor to the Omarama Gazette page on Facebook said the Hawea/Wanaka team had worn black armbands at the annual Springston Trophy event as a tribute to Eliza-Jayne.

A Givealittle page for the Coetzee family can be found here.

Page creator Prue O'Neill said "There is comfort in knowing that Eliza passed away doing something that she loved".

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