A former Wairoa school principal has died following a freak lawn-mower accident at the bach of children's author Joy Cowley.
Roger Bennett, 68, died of severe head injuries in Wellington Hospital on Boxing Day after a ride-on mower landed on his head when it slipped down a bank on December 21.
Mr Bennett was working as a gardening contractor in Kenepuru Sound and was working on Cowley's property in Fish Bay.
He taught in the Wairoa district with wife Dianne for many years and was the principal of the Ardkeen, Turiroa and Opoutama schools.
Former Te Mahia School teacher Annette Bowen said the Bennetts were highly respected during their time in the community.
"They were very much outdoors people.
"This is terribly sad news."
Mr Bennett is survived by his wife, three sons and five grandchildren. APNZ