The man who died in Taupo yesterday when a car struck his bike was steel industry boss and Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, Nick Calavrias, of Wellington.

The 67-year-old was a well-known businessman and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011 for services to business.

He was cycling along the Taupo bypass near his holiday home when the accident happened.

"In 1976 he founded Wellington Steel Ltd with two partners, and steered the business as it grew to employ more than 100 people," his investiture said.


"In 1990 it was bought by Steel & Tube Holdings Ltd, of which Mr Calavrias became chief executive the following year.

"During his 18-year tenure, he contributed to employment of thousands of New Zealanders by sourcing locally made products.

"He implemented safety-improvement programmes that have had a long-term impact on New Zealand's steel industry.

"Mr Calavrias has also held several leadership roles in New Zealand's Greek community and been involved in achieving a number of objectives."

The Wellington Scottish Athletics Club has paid tribute to Calavrias on its Facebook page saying it was tragic to star the New Year with news one of its club stalwarts had died.

"He always kept a keen interest in the Club and was a foundation member and a very generous benefactor of the Supporters Trust," the post said.

"He had a highly successful business career, totally within the steel industry. He ultimately rose to be CEO of Steel & Tube for some 20 years, quite a record for a public company. His knowledge and expertise was widely recognised in both business and the community resulting in being honoured with an ONZM award from the Queen."

His death has been referred to the Coroner and the Serious Crash Unit is investigating the circumstances of the accident.