The friends of an American tourist who died in a South Wairarapa car crash last week are fundraising for the wife he left behind.

Virginian couple Kathleen and Douglas Dietz had been honeymooning in New Zealand for just five days when Mr Dietz was killed on a gravel Martinborough road.

His friend and softball teammate, Eric Garnett, has set up a GoFundMe webpage as a channel to raise money for Mr Dietz's young widow "in her time of need".

"Although they have been together for several years, Doug and Kathleen were just starting their lives together as a married couple," Mr Garnett wrote.

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He also described how Mr Dietz had recently started a new job in Washington DC, with the couple buying a house in Alexandria, Virginia, earlier this year.

"Tragically, our friend, teammate, son, brother, and newlywed Doug Dietz was taken from us too soon."

Mr Dietz had left his wife at a Martinborough hotel to go stargazing which, according to Mr Garnett, was something he "loved to do".

Mr Dietz was found dead in his rented Toyota Estima last Thursday morning by a passing member of the public.

His vehicle had crashed into an open culvert on Shooting Butts Rd.

The crashed rental vehicle in rural Martinborough. Photo / Wairarapa Times-Age
The crashed rental vehicle in rural Martinborough. Photo / Wairarapa Times-Age

"He was only 29 years young," Mr Garnett wrote.

He said Mr Dietz was a keen softballer, who had been close with his teammates in the Congressional Softball League, which he had been playing in for seven years.

"We, his teammates and friends, are truly heartbroken.

"We will make a fitting tribute by changing our team name to Doug's Southern Aces," Mr Garnett said.

"The team also wanted to setup this page as a venue for others touched by Doug's spirit to lend moral and financial support to Kathleen in her time of need.

"All funds raised here will go to her."

People can donate online.