Four young children are without a mum and dad after the parents were killed in a horror late-night crash.

High school sweethearts Kara Te Rupe, 27, and Hamiora Te Kira, 28, were killed when the car they were in rolled down a bank just before midnight on Saturday.

They leave behind four children aged between three and nine, according to an online fundraising page set up to pay for a funeral and support the kids in the future.

The couple’s heartbroken children are “struggling” and being cared for by relatives after being told that their parents were killed in the crash near their home town of Palmerston, New Zealand, a spokesperson for the family said.

Family member Marion Te Rupe told Stuff: “They have a lot of support.”

It is the third tragedy to strike the Te Rupe family in less than a year.

In October last year, Kara’s uncle Joeroa Te Rupe, 47, was shot dead. Joeroa’s sister died two days later.

Marion said Kara, her niece, was “an absolutely devoted mother”.

She added: “Her and Tama did everything with their kids. They were high school sweethearts.”

Kara and Hamiora had been a couple for 11 years and began dating when they were in high school.

Two women, aged 18 and 19, were in the car with the couple and both survived.

Police Sergeant Tony Woodbridge told the New Zealand Herald: “They are obviously very shocked and struggling to deal with the death of two of their friends.”

A Givealittle page stated: “On the 29th of August shortly before midnight a single car crash took the lives of our dear cousins Kararaina Te Rupe & her partner Tama Te Kira who were passengers in a vehicle.

“They have left 4 young children behind liiqcraeh (boy) 9, Tzarah (girl) 7, Larayah (girl) 5, TeKaumanu (girl) 3.

“All funds raised will go towards funeral expenses/travel costs…and anything left over will go towards their children’s future.”

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Sergeant Woodbridge said: “The car rolled over a few times and came to rest down a steep ravine. It sustained considerable damage.

“At this stage, no cause of the crash as been ascertained.”