Mike Middleton hasn't touched his motorbike since February 7, 2016 - the day his son, Rhys, was killed.

Middleton Snr said they had all been riding as part of the Bay of Plenty Road Pirates SMC [Social Motorcycle Club] journey for the One Night Stand event at Hastings the day before.

That morning, they were returning to Tauranga and he approached his son at breakfast and said he would get a head start, but to stay and take his time with his breakfast and he would see him soon.

He never saw him again.

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Instead, Rhys Middleton, 23, was taken out by a vehicle being driven by Chinese national Jieling Xiao, 27, while travelling on Eskdale Rd.

She told police she was not a confident driver and had trouble controlling the vehicle travelling at more than 50km/h.

On two earlier occasions that morning her car had crossed the centre line - on the third time she swerved in front of Rhys Middleton as she over-corrected sharply after veering into the ditch.

His motorcycle hit her right front wheel, effectively launching both him and his bike several metres into the air, before he landed on his neck.

Middleton Snr said it had been a tough year for the family, including his other son, Ryan, 28, who tried to perform CPR on his brother as he lay dying on the road.

Rhys' family and some friends had hardly ridden their bikes, while one who witnessed the crash hasn't been on the road again since.

A cross made by Mike Middleton out of the chain of his son Rhys' motorbike stands as a temporary memorial at Rhys' grave site. Photo / supplied
A cross made by Mike Middleton out of the chain of his son Rhys' motorbike stands as a temporary memorial at Rhys' grave site. Photo / supplied

"It's totally changed our lives. I haven't ridden the bike that much ... my bike's only come out of the shed two or three times.

"I just have no motivation. It's different. I was building a motorbike in the shed as well and I haven't touched that since he died ... but the whole crew hasn't ridden very much at all any more now. I dunno what it is, it's not that we don't want to, there's just no motivation."

Middleton Snr is still annoyed by the circumstances of the crash and how Xiao only served two months of her seven month sentence before she got it turned over by a judge on appeal.

She was deported back to China the next day.

One of the most frustrating parts was watching Xiao go home.

"The part that grates my goat is the system. A tourist can come here and kill a person and be fully at fault, pay some money, walk away and go home.

Rhys Middleton, 23 and of Tauranga, was killed by a tourist driver. Photo / Alan Gibson
Rhys Middleton, 23 and of Tauranga, was killed by a tourist driver. Photo / Alan Gibson

"To me, she killed him intentionally because she went out intentionally driving a car she couldn't drive. I don't believe it was an accident. It should have been manslaughter."

They'll be marking the anniversary in February. For Middleton Snr, he'll be marking both the date and day anniversary - heading to the scene on the first Sunday in February at 9.30am.

"Everyone's been finding it tough but everyone's just had to move on. I've made a point of just going to the cemetery every week but it's just hard."

The family are organising a petition to force changes in the law regarding tourists driving in New Zealand

People wanting to sign the Middletons' petition can do so here.