The family of an Opotiki man who died while repairing a tractor are devastated at the loss of the well-loved and respected community member.
Robin Paruru, 76, was working on a tractor on the grounds of Opotiki College about 3pm yesterday when he got caught in the machinery and suffered fatal injuries, said police.
His family are struggling to come to terms with his death, said son Dan Paruru.
"It's just shock. It's impacted us heaps,'' he said.
Mr Paruru was working on the tractor close to his Buchanan St home. When he didn't return, his wife Patricia became worried and asked another family member to check on him, said Dan Paruru, who learned about the incident soon after when his wife called him.
He described his father, a retired mechanic and former Unit Commander in the New Zealand Cadet Corps, as a funny, outgoing, well-known member of the community.
Mr Paruru leaves his wife, seven children and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
"He is respected throughout the whole community - Maori and Pakeha,'' said Dan Paruru.
School principal Alex Maehe said the school community was focused on supporting Mr Paruru's family.
"The school is deeply saddened by what's happened. What's important for us at the moment is to support the family affected by what's happened,'' he said.
The incident has been referred to the coroner.
A funeral service for Mr Paruru will be held on Saturday.