Cou­ple killed in crash were to­gether in life

South Waikato News - - Out & About - PHILLIPA YALDEN, MATT SHAND

Ian and Mary Smith did ev­ery­thing to­gether.

The Taupo-based cou­ple founded a engineering firm and would go on to send shock­waves through the fra­ter­nity when Ian, 80, ap­pointed his wife, 74, co-di­rec­tor.

They were in­sep­a­ra­ble and were known for wear­ing match­ing suits.

And it was to­gether, next to each other in the cou­ple’s Mercedes, that they both died af­ter a head on smash south of Toko­roa al­most two weeks ago.

The pair were head­ing from their home in Taupo to Hamil­ton about 8.30am when their car and a south­bound truck crashed head-on on State High­way 1.

The driver of the truck was also in­jured and was taken to Toko­roa Hos­pi­tal in a mod­er­ate con­di­tion.

Taupo road polic­ing man­ager Senior Sergeant Fane Troy said po­lice were con­tin­u­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the crash and would not com­ment on any specifics.

Welling­ton en­gi­neer and former em­ployee Stu­art Pre­ston, who worked with Smith from 1994 until 2000, said the cou­ple were in­sep­a­ra­ble.

‘‘To the point of wear­ing com­ple­men­tary out­fits, in the late 90s it was match­ing cream linen suits.

‘‘Their big­gest pri­or­ity was fam­ily.’’

In his ten­ure as an en­gi­neer at Smith Leuchars Ltd firm, Ian Smith was in­stru­men­tal in the struc­tural de­sign of most of the cap­i­tal’s 1980s sky­line.

Among his ac­co­lades are the now State In­sur­ance Build­ing, for­merly known as the BNZ Cen­tre, former Pub­lic Trust build­ing, Tele­com tow­ers and numer­ous of­fice build­ings in Auck­land, Welling­ton and Christchurch.

‘‘The most re­mark­able thing about Ian is the num­ber of very ca­pa­ble engi­neers that he men­tored over his time.

The cou­ple sold up in 2000 and planned to semi-re­tire in Taupo.

But in Feb­ru­ary 2011 the earth­quake changed the Christchurch land­scape and cre­ated a short­age for qual­i­fied struc­tural engi­neers.

Ian opened an­other of­fice in Welling­ton to deal with the in­flux of seis­mic work.

As a man, Pre­ston said Ian Smith was gen­tly spo­ken, gen­er­ous with his time and ex­tremely po­lite and re­spect­ful, while Mary was a forth­right, strong woman.


Ian and Mary Smith were killed in a fa­tal crash south of Toko­roa last Fri­day.

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