Police have launched a homicide inquiry after a 44-year-old Tauranga man died on his birthday from head injuries suffered in a brutal attack at his home.
The Bay of Plenty Times learned yesterday that Gary Clayton Kimura died in Tauranga Hospital last Wednesday.
After questions from this newspaper, Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner confirmed Mr Kimura had remained in a seriously ill condition following the attack on October 5 and had since died.
Mr Kimura, who was initially admitted to Tauranga Hospital, was airlifted to Waikato Hospital about 7pm on the night of the attack, with a life-threatening head injury. He remained in a coma for several weeks but was then transferred back to Tauranga Hospital on November 9.
Mr Turner said four men, three from the Western Bay and an Aucklander, were before the courts facing a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The four men are unemployed Witeri Neketai, 34, from Te Puke, Taonui Hiku, 25, from Tauranga, Jesse Hartley, 26, of Mount Maunganui, and 43-year-old Joseph Rewi, from Auckland.
Neketai is due back in court today, while the other three will appear in court between November 28 and December 6.
Mr Turner said police inquiries were ongoing and a forensic pathologist's report into the exact cause of death was likely to take six weeks. A decision will be made at that time whether more serious charges will be laid.
He said now the matter was before the courts he was not prepared to comment further.
Mr Kimura is survived by his 45-year-old wife Rosina, his daughters Jahna, 23, their 18-year-old twins Manaia and Melani, 4-year-old-son Teina and his two step-children Krystal, 26, and Kauri, 22.
Mr Kimura was also a grandfather to four, Chrome, 5, Niah, and Jizelle, both 1, and 10-week-old Malia. Mr Kimura was the only son of Mana and Tawhai Kimura and an older brother to Polly.
Mrs Kimura, who is still struggling to come to terms with her husband's death, told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday that her husband had been breathing on his own but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries, "dying on his 44th birthday".
She said her husband was a well-known identity in Tauranga having owned and run Gary's Tyres in Sulphur Point for about 15 years, a business he established from scratch in his garage. She said he worked hard to build up the business over the years and his death was a "huge shock" not only to her and their children and the rest of their family but to Mr Kimura's friends and work associates.
Mr Kimura was buried on Sunday in Te Whakatere Urupa at Maihiihi, near Otorohanga. after lying in state at Kahotea Marae at Otorohanga which was his father's home marae.