A contractor died after a trench he was working in collapsed, burying him.
He has been named as Michael Kevin Haines, 34, of Matamata.
The fatal workplace accident happened near Matamata yesterday.
WorkSafe New Zealand is investigating the incident with assistance from Waikato police.
Sergeant Graham McGurk of Matamata police said emergency services were called to a rural Te Poi property about 12.30pm.
"Thirty-four-year-old Matamata man Michael Kevin Haines, who was employed by a contracting firm working on the Rapurapu Rd property, had gone down into trench dug by a digger to work on a pipe join.
"As he was bent over, a large slip occurred and he was buried. The digger operator saw what had happened and managed to dig the victim out to the point where his head was clear before he ran to get assistance from nearby farm and construction workers."
Mr McGurk said Mr Haines was initially conscious and able to breathe but his condition deteriorated.
"The combined efforts of the workers managed to free the man who was by now unconscious. An ambulance arrived at the scene about this time and CPR was carried out until such time as an air ambulance helicopter arrived to fly him to Waikato Hospital but he was unable to be revived.
WorkSafe and police attended the scene the death was reported to the coroner.