The family of a girl who died in a bus crash on Mt Ruapehu have spoken for the first time about her death.
They described 11-year-old Hannah Francis as someone who had an infectious exuberance, and said her death is an insurmountable loss.
Police released statements on behalf of Hannah's family today.
Her mother, Michelle Bruton, said their lives have fallen apart since the moment they learnt of the crash.
"As Hannah's mother my heart has literally broken, there is no feeling like this in the world to compare it to," Ms Bruton said.
"We are taking baby steps each day to try to learn how to carry this grief with us. It will never ever go away, the loss of Hannah is very real.
"This loss as we are beginning to realise is insurmountable. Hannah was the sunshine in every day."
Hannah's father, Matthew Francis, was also injured in the crash, breaking his scapula and multiple ribs.
He said Hannah had a joy and presence that they long to have back.
"We miss her at the dinner table and all the usual routines of our daily lives," Mr Francis said.
"But we see her in the daffodils at our front door, in the uniforms left on bedroom floors and the warm sunshine flooding into her bedroom on a sunny day.
"If there is one thing we would want you to remember about Hannah it would be that she loved life and she approached life with an exuberance that was infectious."
Police are still investigating the crash, but say they will not comment on the nature of the investigation or the circumstances surrounding the crash.
The families have asked for privacy as they continue to grieve.