A former top children's sprinter, Napier Boys' High School athletics champion and NBHS national Under 15 rugby champions team member has died after a work accident in Auckland.
Leslie David Remuera (Les) Laing, a 28-year-old father of four and son of Hawke's Bay Today reporter Doug Laing, died early on Monday afternoon after the accident in the yard of Mangere export logging firm Guru.
He was struck by heavy machinery just hours into his first day back at work after being off with injuries received in a random street assault about five weeks ago in Papakura, where he has been living with partner Yvonne Atkins, their two pre-school children and two of Ms Atkins daughters.
He also has two daughters living in Napier and Hastings.
Mr Laing, who was born in Napier and attended Richmond School, Napier Intermediate and the boys' high, was a promising young sportsman.
After winning two 12yrs boys sprint gold medals at the 2001 North Island Colgate Games in Whanganui, he represented Napier in a Ross Shield rugby tournament in which the star player was future All Black Israel Dagg, won a Napier Boys' High track and field championship, and was a member of the school's national Under 15 rugby team alongside such players as future All Black Zac Guildford and eventual Super rugby players Daniel Kirkpatrick and Richard Buckman.
He worked for a time in woolsheds in Hawke's Bay and Central Otago, and undertook other jobs, before learning the log-scaling skills with ISO in Napier, later taking the skills to Auckland where he had been with Guru about a year at the time he died.
His employer said he had become a key member of their small team and would have had a big future in the industry.
He is survived by father Doug and mother Ura, and had eight brothers and sisters.
Family were waiting in Auckland for an autopsy tomorrow, planning a tangi at Pukemokimoki Marae in Napier in the next 2-3 days.