A man killed in a wasp attack yesterday made a desperate bid to escape the swarm, says a volunteer firefighter who was first on the scene.

The 62-year-old man died after he disturbed a wasp nest while collecting firewood on a property in the Kenepuru Sound, Marlborough, just after 9am yesterday. A male relative with the man was also stung, but survived.

Kenepuru Fire Party volunteer firefighter Stefan Schulz raced to the pair's aid after the survivor called emergency services on his cellphone.

Schulz was the first on the scene and discovered the dead man about 200m from the wasps' nest. He had a mass of stings around his head and neck and about 20 wasps were still clinging to him.


"If you get enough stings on your neck or head, all the tissues swell up and you almost suffocate to death.

"Once I realised there was nothing I could do for him I concentrated on the other person."

Schulz gave the survivor an antihistamine tablet and comforted him.

Dave Houston of the police maritime unit said the man had just moved to Havelock a month ago to be near his family.