Families mourn loss of two men

By Doug Laing


Separate Hawke's Bay communities are in mourning as a result of motor vehicle tragedies in which two men died a few hours apart on Sunday.

The two were Southern Hawke's Bay farmer Lance Nelson Renall, 64, who died beneath his upturned quad bike near his home late on Sunday morning, and Flaxmere welder Simon Matthew Arthur Heather, 38, who died in a head-on Hawke's Bay Expressway truck crash near Westshore about 1.20pm.

Mr Renall had been gathering firewood from a recent windfall he was clearing near his home on a Mangaorapa Rd property, a family farm where he had lived most of life.

He was pinned beneath the overturned machine and was dead when discovered by wife Karen on a late-morning walk, said Porangahau policeman Senior Constable John Singer.

Mr Renall had farmed the property with his son, Steven, and he was also survived by a second son, Flaxmere police officer Nick Renall, daughters Julia and Meagan, and his four grandchildren.

Long-serving Porangahau Volunteer Fire Brigade chief and ambulance officer John Galbraith had known Mr Renall for many years, and said he had been well-known in the area for his involvement with rugby, coaching teams of players from Porangahau and Mangaorapa schools.

Mr Galbraith's sons recalled being coached by Mr Renall, who also took on a responsibility for getting players to Waipukurau for training in Central Hawke's Bay Ross Shield teams.

Funeral details were unavailable last night.

It was at least the sixth death involving farm quad bikes in New Zealand this year, but only the third in a farm mishap, after the death of a 74-year-old man near Tokomaru Bay in January and a 10-year-old boy in South Wairarapa last month.

Rescue helicopter services have, however, been called to at least eight quad bike mishaps in Hawke's Bay this year, not all on farms and at least two on beaches.

Mr Heather, who died in the head-on crash on the Ahuriri Estuary section of the expressway on Sunday afternoon, was a Flaxmere father-of-five.

A former Flaxmere senior rugby player, Mr Heather was alone in a truck returning from working at the Whirinaki mill with brothers Kevin and Arthur in the contract welding firm started by their father, who lost a battle with cancer only three months ago, said family spokesman Moko Kavana.

His brothers and others in the crew had left the mill a little later and were diverted through the Westshore section of the expressway which was closed by the crash.

They were unaware of who had been involved until after they arrived home.

Mr Heather's funeral is being held at the family home in Sunderland Drive, Flaxmere, with the burial at Mangaroa Cemetery on Thursday.

- Hawkes Bay Today

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 22 Dec 2014 12:17:12 Processing Time: 350ms