He was tall. He was handsome. Sporty, bright, hardworking. A good guy, a young man who was loyal, respected and widely liked.

So the death of Mathew Forsyth in a car accident on Monday morning, at the age of just 18 has sent shockwaves through the Taupo community.

Mr Forsyth died when his Mazda utility hit a tree on Mapara Rd, between King Rd and Katelyn Pl, at 7.20am yesterday.

Taupo Senior Sergeant Fane Troy said the crash was "another tragedy to our community," with 10 deaths in the Taupo and South Waikato areas since January.

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From his former school Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, where Mr Forsyth was the 2016 deputy head boy, to his workmates, his sports mates and his family and friends, the news that a young man with so much potential had been taken so early came like a hammer blow.

Mr Forsyth, the youngest of four children of Dave and Sue Forsyth, went to Taupo Primary, Taupo Intermediate and Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, where he was not only bright at maths and science, but also good at sports.

He and his teammates won a regional Mathswise competition while he was still at intermediate, and he was awarded a 2010 Mayoral Award for his academic ability. He also played football in the school's 1st XI, took up rowing for a year and was captain of the school's 1st XI hockey team for two years running.

Mr Forsyth excelled at hockey. He had played in Bay of Plenty representative teams since the age of 13 and was in the team that won the under-18 national hockey tournament in 2016, as well as the Midlands development squad. He travelled to the United States last year with an under-19 Taupo hockey team to play in the 2016 California International Field Hockey Tournament. He held a Team Taupo (sports) scholarship for two years and at the end of 2016 he was awarded the Peter Paul Cup for Outstanding Role Model.

Until the end of 2016 Mr Forsyth planned to study engineering at university but despite gaining three NCEA endorsements and university entrance, decided he would rather be a builder.

Local builder Chris Fisher took him on at the end of last year and Mr Forsyth enjoyed the work. He was conscientious and reliable.

Still recovering from pneumonia and glandular fever last year which took him off school for eight weeks last year, he was working his way back to full health. Hockey was on hold for the season with Mathew playing for Taupo AFC football instead.

His dad Dave Forsyth said Mr Forsyth was "just a great young man". He was sociable, but preferred to forgo parties in favour of staying fresh for sport. He had a dry sense of humour that was beyond his years.

His mate Max Baker described Mr Forsyth, known to his friends as Muff, as "a pretty genuine sort of a dude" who was a deep thinker, a loyal friend and very intelligent.
"He was pretty cool. He was always there for you, anything you needed."

Mr Forsyth's sense of humour was well-known, but not everybody would get his jokes.

"Everyone knows him for his dry jokes. He would pull out a random comment every now and then and everyone would just stare at him and then laugh, although his jokes were funny sometimes."

Taupo-nui-a-Tia College principal Peter Moyle said Mr Forsyth was respected by both students and staff and was an excellent role model who got involved in a wide range of school activities.

"He was loyal, he was honest, he was responsible. He will be sorely missed. There's a lot of upset students here today."

Mr Moyle also described Mr Forsyth as reflective and thoughtful and somebody who would do the right thing, not just the easy thing.

"He was prepared to stand by the courage of his convictions, even if it wasn't the popular thing to do. That really stood out with him."

His mother Sue said while her son was taken too young she was grateful for the 18 years he had.

"We were blessed to have had him."