Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Truck-collision victim was on bike to help disabled son

John Tangiia's son has yet to be told that his dad has died.
John Tangiia's son has yet to be told that his dad has died.

John Tangiia never usually rode a bike, but in a bid to become fitter so he could do more with his disabled son, he cycled to an appointment on Tuesday.

On the way, the 37-year-old collided with a truck as he rode through Parnell. He died at the scene.

Later that day, Mr Tangiia's partner Kerry faced the task of identifying him at the morgue.

His brother, Kawatapuarangi Brown, told the Herald last night that the couple's 11-year-old son Simon had yet to be told.

"He has special needs and disabilities and with his conditions, we don't know if he could handle the loss of his father. They were very, very close," he said. "He was a devoted family man. His family always came first."

Mr Tangiia, an IT engineer, has three older daughters from a previous relationship who live in Australia. Keysha, Tatjuana and Jahdiva are trying to obtain emergency travel documentation so they can return for Mr Tangiia's tangi, to be held at the Umupuia Marae at Maraetai.

Mr Brown said the girls were all born in New Zealand but did not hold current passports so could not travel immediately.

They were expected to arrive with their mother in the next few days.

Mr Brown was shocked his brother was the victim. "My brother loved vehicles, he loved sports cars. When I heard he was in an accident, I just thought he had a car crash. But it turned out he had been cycling to keep fit. It was summer and he had plans for his son."

Mr Tangiia was one of five children. Mr Brown is his eldest sibling.

Mr Brown said his nieces were also shocked. Though they lived in Australia, they were in constant contact with their father.

"They have always been daddy's girls, they are finding this quite hard. His partner is not coping, they were very close. For her, she's not only lost her life partner, she has lost the father of her child."

Mr Brown said his brother, who was named after their father and actually bears the first name Taiere, was a hard worker and always strived to provide for his family.

"He was a character, that's for sure," said Mr Brown. "John had the gift of the gab. He was the life, the centre of attention. He was the type of brother who was a joker, he was always having a laugh."

Mr Tangiia's family do not know all the details of the crash that claimed his life. They were focused on the tangi.

Police are investigating the crash, and said Mr Tangiia was probably freewheeling down Parnell Rise, turning left into Stanley St. The truck driver appeared to have had the green light.

Tell us your story about being on the roads as a cyclist or motorist here.

- NZ Herald

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