Topic: Karla Michele McCauley (1975-1997)

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Karla Michele McCauley was a past student of Tauranga Girls' College. She died in 1997 at the age of 21. This article is written by Karla's older sister, Debbie McCauley.

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Karla McCauley was born on 30 October 1975 at Whakatane Hospital. Her birth notice reads:

McCAULEY To Joyce and Ken, a daughter, at Whakatane Annexe, on October 30, 1975. Both well. A sister for Joanne, Debbie and Arlene (Thanks to doctor and nursing staff) (Notice courtesy of Mavis Kelly).

Karla McCauley (c1986)

Karla had deep red hair and hazel eyes. Like her grandfather and father, Karla was very artistic and studied art when she attended Tauranga Girls’ College as well as played hockey. She also enjoyed reading.

In 1996 Karla travelled to Bali with older sister Debbie. She had a sunny personality, was a wonderful mother to her two young children. Karla was planning to do the Marine Studies course offered by the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic in Tauranga.

Soon after Karla's second child was born she suffered an epileptic fit, which had never happened before. Doctors attributed it to the birth and failed to investigate further. Unfortunately this was a warning signal of a more serious problem.

Karla collapsed at the end of April 1997 and was rushed to Tauranga Hospital by ambulance. From there she was helicoptered to Auckland Hospital suffering from an AVM (arterio-venous malformation in left parietal lobe causing massive brain haemorrhage).

Whilst in Auckland Hospital Karla underwent brain surgery. She then suffered a massive haemorrhage from a tracheostomy. A tracheo-arterial fistula was caused by pressure from the tube rubbing on the trachea and adjacent vessel (link to a similar case: A Rare Case of Fatal Haemorrhage After Tracheostomy). This resulted in a second major surgery. Karla then underwent a third major surgery on her brain.

Karla died, aged 21, on 19 May 1997 at Auckland Hospital. Her death was attributed to complications re tracheostomy and neurosurgery.

She was cremated and her ashes buried in the Rose Gardens at Pyes Pa Cemetery in Tauranga on 29 September 1997.

Karla McCauley headstone at Pyes Pa Cemetery


On 24 July 2002 a kauri tree was planted at McLaren Falls Park, Tauranga in Karla's memory.

YouTube footage with Karla in the background was uncovered in 2014 and can be seen at these links:

Many thanks to Arlo Baylis (drummer in the footage) for supplying these videos from his family archives.

This page was archived at perma cc March 2017 https://perma.cc/4a85-clw3

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Karla Michele McCauley (1975-1997)


Year:1997
First Names:Karla Michele
Last Name:McCauley
Date of Birth:30 October 1975
Place of Birth:Whakatane
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:19 May 1997
Place of death:Auckland City Hospital
Place of burial:Pyes Pa Crematorium Rose Gardens
Place of settlement in Bay of Plenty:Tauranga