Eketahuna quad victim ‘‘a good man’’
The man killed in a Tararua quad bike crash on Saturday was 67-year-old farmer Willie Bengston.
He died on a farm near Eketahuna about 10am.
Neighbour Alan Moss said Bengston had a wealth of farming experience, and had been around machinery all his life.
‘‘He was used to riding around the hills,’’ he said. ‘‘I was very surprised ... I’m not sure what went wrong.’’
Moss, who knew Bengston for close to 40 years, said his neighbour was well-liked. ‘‘He was a normal sort of guy. ‘‘He liked his beer, got to the pub pretty regularly. He was pretty well-known and got along with everybody.’’
Bengston’s widow Diane said her husband was ‘‘a hard worker and a good man’’.
His death came just hours before a second man was killed in a quad bike crash, near Okiwi Bay, in the Marlborough Sounds.
The Serious Crash Unit was called and the incident will be referred to the coroner.
Federated Farmers Manawatu¯ president Richard Morrison said the farming industry took safety very seriously, and it was always disappointing to hear of fatal accidents.
‘‘It’s horrible for the family, their workmates and the entire industry.’’
The deaths served as a stark reminder to double-check that vehicles were well maintained, to wear helmets and be cautious of the terrain, he said.
‘‘I think farmers do very well with that overall, but there will always be a danger to farm work, especially during a busy time of year when wet weather has left fields very slippery.’’
Even those who were confident in their safety could make mistakes.
‘‘This is why everybody needs to take responsibility for farm safety. There needs to be a multipronged approach.’’
The government and Federated Farmers need to provide adequate support and frameworks for health and safety, and farm hands and employers all needed to chip in and watch each other’s backs, he said.
Quad bike safety is a key issue. At least three people have died on quad bikes in Wairarapa over the past three years.
A record 14 people died in quad bike incidents in New Zealand in 2016.
Quad safety is a key issue