Death hits school hard
Crash victim was well known in Queenstown
Sunday’s death of talented up and coming snowboarder Hamish Bagley has rocked Wakatipu High School pupils and staff. Principal Steve Hall said that although Hamish was not officially named as the victim of a Sunday evening car crash on the Lindis Pass until late on Monday, the devastating news spread quickly amongst Queenstown’s small, tight-knit community, and even faster throughout the town’s only secondary school. Hamish graduated year 13 in 2013, and Mr Hall started his tenure in the same year, so although there was not much ‘‘crossover’’ time for principal and pupil to bond, the effect of Hamish’s death was starkly apparent, Mr Hall said. ‘‘On Monday we put our Traumatic Incident Procedure into place, which involves giving support, space or time out to those that have been affected by Hamish’s death,’’ he said. The procedure was still in place on Tuesday, and the mood throughout the school was very sombre. ‘‘Obviously many pupils and staff members knew Hamish very well. This was a very young life that has tragically ended far too soon.’’ While death was a fact of life, the death of a young person with their lives before them could hit their peers particularly hard, and not always in apparent forms, Mr Hall said. ‘‘In these kind of situations, which are triggered by a death or serious accident amongst pupils, staff, family members or friends of the school community, its all about coping. ‘‘We are a small, close community, and we were already due to go over and refine our procedure in these situations very soon. This was planned before Hamish’s death, but will help us to better cope with these kind of incidents as they happen in the future.’’ A talented snowboarder from Arrowtown, 17-year-old Hamish Bagley died after the car he was in veered off the road and down a ditch before bursting into flames. His death was marked far and wide, from his former school yard to Sochi in Russia, where the New Zealand Winter Olympics team issued a statement saying they were ‘‘shocked and saddened’’ by the loss. Hamish was a member of the New Zealand team to the inaugural Youth Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012 and had been working towards qualifying for the Sochi Olympic Games as a member of the official long-list. Hamish’s father Roy, speaking from Los Angeles Airport where he was awaiting a return flight to Queenstown on Monday night told the Mirror he was numb with the news.
Farewell: Up and coming snowboarding talent Hamish Bagley. Image taken from ‘‘R.I.P Hamish Bagley’’ Facebook page.