Biker hailed as respected member of the community

By Kiri Gillespie- with Amy McGillivray

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A prominent member of Tauranga's Filthy Few who died in a motorcycle crash in the South Island has been remembered as "a bloody nice guy".

Filthy Few Motorcycle Club member Dennis Michael Pederson, known as Deno, was killed - along with his friend Grant John Roberts, 43, from the South Island - when the motorcycles they were riding collided with a car on the Lindis Pass in Otago on Monday.

In Tauranga yesterday, family, friends and club members were grieving their loss.

The 54-year-old owned the Curiosity store in Wharf St and helped organise the annual Metal Mania event.

Yesterday, the store was closed with a sign on the door referring to unforeseen circumstances.

Bouquets of red flowers were placed outside the shop. The card on one read: "You're a lost legend - an end of an era. Love you bro."

Another card read: "Deno, we love you and miss you."

A couple who placed one of the bouquets were visibly upset outside the store. The woman, who asked not to be named, said she left the flowers because Deno was her "darling".

"He was a really good friend and the other flowers are from another really good friend of his," she said.

The woman's partner said Deano was "a respected member of the Tauranga community" and deserved to be recognised as such.

The man said Deno was a "bloody nice guy".

Filthy Few Motorcycle Club president Grub Keleher said the death of such an active club member was a big loss.

Mr Keleher said he did not want to comment on Deno's death or funeral arrangements as it was the club's belief such matters should be kept private.

Family at Deno's Bethlehem home and club members at the Birch St headquarters declined to comment when approached yesterday. Deno had just bought a new Harley Davidson.

Owner of The Dry Dock Cafe Sandra Johnson said she would miss Deno operating the store next door. "If I've needed help he's always helped me. It's hard to explain because it was good just knowing he was there."

Ms Johnson said Deno was friendly, reliable and she was absolutely shocked at his death.

Funeral director and car enthusiast Todd Gower, who worked with Deno at the Metal Mania events, described him as "such a good guy".

"Personally, it's a true honour and privilege to be asked to look after him," he said.

Deno's funeral will take place at Tauranga Park, Pyes Pa, on Friday at 1pm.

In February, Deno was among a group of 14 that appeared in Tauranga District Court accused of taking part in a standoff with rivals the Greasy Dogs. Filthy Few members pleaded guilty to unlawful assembly and were fined $500.

A female pillion passenger on one of the motorcycles was flown to Dunedin Hospital in a critical condition.

The single occupant of the car involved in the crash, a 20-year-old Chinese tourist, has been charged by police.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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