Ariana Brown died in the early hours of yesterday morning when the bike she was riding in Phuket appeared to have missed a bend in the road.
The mother of two sons in their 20s, from Motueka, had on Friday night won her first Muay Thai fight and had been out with friends celebrating.
One of Ms Brown’s friends, New Zealander Ash Gibson was riding a few seconds behind her and was quickly on the scene.
“It is a completely devastating tragedy. She was a light to many people here and everywhere,” Ms Gibson said of her friend.
“A strong and fierce Maori woman, with a heart of gold, [she] only spread light and joy. She was living her dream here in Thailand and I and many others were so blessed to have met her.
“We are all taken back by this event. Its a shock and a heartache. We love her very much,” Ms Gibson told NZME.
She said the loss was too much to take.
“We were all just cheering her on hours before, fit and fighting, and then celebrating.
“I’ve already had so much loss in my life… People had to give me the bad news five years ago about my parents, so for me being at the scene and then talking to her son just cracking, I’m broken.”
Ms Brown won her fight by knockout in the third round. Muay Thai fighters are known for their fitness and use their fists, elbows, knees and shins to strike opponents.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman confirmed the “tragic death of a New Zealander in Phuket as a result of an accident”.
“Consular advice and support is being provided to the family in New Zealand,” he said.
Story from nzherald.co.nz