Mum dragged from boot at 100km/h during kidnapping
Meanwhile, the three children living with her were waiting at home for their mother to return - unaware of the drama playing out near a small Waikato settlement.
They are still piecing together how Ms Eriepa, 37, ended up in the boot of her Subaru and why she was dragged 1.7km along State Highway 1 near Tokoroa at 100km/h.
An online profile says Ms Eriepa is a stay-at-home mum who previously worked part-time at a rest home.
The acquaintance said Ms Eriepa had recently received an ACC payout of about $15,000, which she used to buy the Subaru in Tauranga on Friday.
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said Ms Eriepa willingly left her Rotorua home with the man, described as an acquaintance, before lunchtime on Saturday and the pair headed towards Taupo.
At 1.45pm in Lichfield, between Tokoroa and Putaruru, Ms Eriepa managed to unlock the boot. But as she tried to escape the moving vehicle, her leg became caught and she was dragged along the highway.
Agricultural contractor Bernard Trumper, who driving towards Putaruru was one of the first to reach Ms Eriepa after she fell free.
He said that as he was driving his tractor, "I saw this dark-coloured vehicle come past me and this person being dragged behind by her leg ... She was stuck by the leg between the drawbar and the bumper of the car.
A man and a woman in a white ute with a child had pulled into the oncoming lane to try to get the car to pull over, he said.
"I noticed she was breathing and was conscious. I was with her the whole time until she went into the helicopter. She wasn't saying a lot, she was just answering our questions."
"She's a very, very, very lucky lady and she is such a strong person to survive this. She was conscious and awake the whole time."
Ms Eriepa was flown to hospital in the Westpac Waikato Air Ambulance, and had surgery. Her condition had stabilised yesterday, but she was still listed as serious.
Ms Eriepa was not ready yesterday to speak about her ordeal but issued a brief statement through Waikato Hospital, requesting privacy and thanking everyone for their concern and support.
"She is going to have a significant stay in hospital and then ongoing medical issues."