The man who died when his van smashed into a rock face was a "happy-go-lucky" guy.
Steven John Wilson, 46, of Katikati, died at the scene of the crash at the intersection of Pyes Pa Rd and Mangatoi Rd at 12.53pm on Wednesday.
His widow, Jane Wilson, choked back tears as she described her husband of 24 years to the Bay of Plenty Times.
"He was pretty happy-go-lucky," she said. "We always had plenty of fun."
His death shocked her and he would be sorely missed.
Mr Wilson was close to his family, some of whom were already on their way from Australia to mourn his passing.
The couple have lived on an acre of land in Katikati for six years where Mr Wilson worked as a lawn mowing contractor.
Mrs Wilson said her husband loved to be outside gardening and growing veges or fishing on his speed boat off Tanners Point.
"He just really liked fishing and he really liked mowing his lawns and doing stuff around the house," she said. "He built me a nice plastic house for my tomatoes."
Gardening was his passion but Mr Wilson was very much a jack-of-all-trades, she said.
He grew up in Waverley and joined the army as a cadet when he was 16 years old. He served for six years.
The couple met and were married when Mr Wilson was living in Palmerston North during his time with the army.
They then moved to Australia for 10 years where they worked in road-houses, service stations in rural areas specifically aimed at servicing traffic passing by on major inter-city routes, she said.
When they came back to New Zealand the couple ran a Lotto shop in Levin alongside Mrs Wilson's parents before moving to Paraparaumu where Mr Wilson worked with the intellectually disabled and the elderly.
The pair then moved to Rotorua where they ran a motel for two years before moving to Katikati.
Mr Wilson was alone in the Mitsubishi van.
Serious crash investigators are investigating the accident.
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