Eke­tahuna quad vic­tim ‘‘a good man’’

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - JACK BAR­LOW AND PAUL MITCHELL

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

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