A 64-year-old, expecting the birth of his grandchild, died when his Ford Coupe hot rod crashed into a truck.
Police said the crash occurred about 3pm on Friday when the Paengaroa man lost control and veered head-on into oncoming traffic.
Neil Ardeon, the secretary of the Sulphur City Hot Rod Club where the man was a member, said the crash had devastated the community.
"He's a good, genuine family man. That probably sums him up," Ardeon said. "The family's a mess, obviously."
A family friend posted on a Trade Me message board that the man's daughter was days away from giving birth.
"(I'm) just gutted he won't get to meet his grandchild," the friend said.
Ardeon said the family was being supported by the club and friends.
"They've got huge support, they're a neat family," he said.
The driver of the Isuzu truck was trapped for nearly an hour before being flown to Tauranga Hospital with serious leg injuries.
The passenger was also taken to Tauranga Hospital with minor leg injuries.
Police have appealed for information from anyone who saw a Ford Coupe hot rod in Pongakawa on Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile a teenager had to be cut from a car and rushed to hospital in a critical condition after a crash in Taranaki yesterday.
The male driver, aged around 18, has severe facial injuries and was found unconscious but breathing by a passing motorist on Richmond Rd at Lepperton at 6am. Firefighters used hydraulic equipment to cut him from the car.
An ambulance spokeswoman said the man was believed to have been in the car "for some time" before he was discovered.
He was taken to Taranaki Base Hospital.