Brightness overcomes darkness

Motorcyclist “Nemo”, as known to her friends, believes she wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the life-saving efforts of crew of the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter. On 2nd February 2019, she was, sadly, the victim of a hit and run accident in Warkworth.

Nemo is looking forward to flying our service’s flag high at the Cyclespot Group Rescue Ride as hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts gather for the inaugural fundraiser on 27th November 2022.

Nemo met her Kiwi partner of the time, Aaron, while they were travelling. The two of them shared a love of motorsports. After moving here, she quickly fell in love with New Zealand and enjoyed connecting with nature and the outdoors. Two days before Chinese New Year, Nemo loved having her mum and close friend, also a motorcyclist, come to visit from China. A celebration dinner was on the cards that night.

Excited about the possibility of starting a motorcycle touring business here, Aaron and Nemo spent time showing their friend around Muriwai and then Matakana, before heading home. Only Nemo wouldn’t make it home that day.

The last in their riding formation, Nemo became aware of an aggressive driver who was deliberately tailgating her. Concerned, she let the group know through her intercom. As the trio stopped at some traffic lights, the unimaginable happened. The driver rear-ended Nemo’s bike and started pushing her! Petite Nemo didn’t have time to jump off the bike as Aaron ran to her aid. To Nemo’s horror, she was pulled under the car and run over by its front and back right wheels. Dragged along the road, Nemo was eventually freed from the vehicle while the driver fled.

Fortunately, there were a lot of witnesses and with multiple police cars in pursuit, the driver would eventually be apprehended, convicted and incarcerated.

But the most fortuitist of all is Nemo would survive.

While chaos erupted around her, the then 29-year-old struggled to breathe.

“I felt I was dying,” Nemo says, “I felt at peace with no regrets. I had been raised a good person and I loved my life,” she says, “But then I thought of Mum waiting for me at home for dinner.”

While Nemo experienced the worst of human nature the day, she also experienced its best. She recalls the kindness of strangers, off-duty medical professionals and first responders who were there for her. Ambulance would carry her to Westpac 3 not far away. She also recalls the care of Critical Care Flight Paramedic Marcel Driessen. Nemo was quick to inform him she could still wiggle her fingers and toes. Nemo enjoyed sharing a joke that she couldn’t make the most of the flight and see out the windows. With traffic very heavy that day, going by road was not an option for Nemo who was in a serious condition. She felt she was in the best of hands.

For the next 108 days, Nemo would be in primary care but would make an incredible recovery. She shared some thank you donuts with Aaron, Marcel and Pilot Johnny Stanton at the Mechanics Bay base.

“Eventually brightness overcomes darkness,” Nemo says, “There is nothing I could have done differently about what happened that day. I am not blaming or shaming myself for someone else’s doing nor letting this event change my passion for riding responsibly.”

Nemo is studying counselling, hoping to help others. She continues her passion of motorcycle riding and is looking forward to being a part of the Cyclespot Group Rescue Ride.

We thank Nemo for bravely sharing her story.