Wairarapa family loses a good man

By Hayley Gastmeier hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
1 comment
Marc Burgiss, 55, of Greytown, who died when he lost control of his motorcycle on Sunday, pictured holding his grand-nephew Lennox Roigard. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Marc Burgiss, 55, of Greytown, who died when he lost control of his motorcycle on Sunday, pictured holding his grand-nephew Lennox Roigard. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A Featherston couple's only son -- killed in a weekend road crash -- will be remembered as a man who would do anything for his family and loved music, motorcycles and art.

Marc Burgiss died on Sunday after his KTM990 motorcycle collided with a four-wheel drive vehicle on Cape Palliser Rd.

The 55-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which was about 1km from the Whangaimoana Beach Rd turn-off at a 65km/h marked corner.

Yesterday Mr Burgiss' family gathered at the Featherston home he grew up in, where his parents still live.

Ken Burgiss, who has Parkinson's disease, and Trish Burgiss have been active members of the South Wairarapa community for decades.

The couple founded both the Featherston Heritage Museum and Ken Burgiss' Memorabilia museum, along with South Wairarapa Tours, a successful tour bus company that at one time became so popular they were booked out a year in advance.

Mr and Mrs Burgiss have also been heavily involved with the Featherston Community Patrol.

Speaking from their home yesterday, Mrs Burgiss described her son as a very private person, who would be sorely missed.

He had no children of his own but his only sibling, older sister Colleen Hilder, said her brother had been a loving uncle to her four children, and their children.

"Because of Ken's disability, Marc would come down and anything I needed done he would do," Mrs Burgiss said.

"He never once said 'I'll do it later'. He would arrive, see all the firewood was here and start putting it away."

Mrs Burgiss said whenever there was an opportunity to lend a hand to help someone else out, he would.

"It was just instant. He was a good man and wanted the best for everyone."

After attending Kuranui College, Mr Burgiss went into engineering.

He lived on an acre property in Greytown, where he grew his own food and had an organic orchard. Mrs Hilder, from Upper Hutt, said he had recently turned his life around, after finding "his belief in God".

"He wasn't a saint but he had changed his whole life in the last two years and they were the best of his life."

Mr Burgiss had quit drinking and had become a vegan. It had been his dream to become a sculptor and open up the front of his barn as a studio where he could sell his own works.

Mrs Hilder said her brother was a thoughtful man -- always going the extra mile for others.

She recalled when he found out a family friend had cancer and he rode straight over to her place to give her a DVD and book about alternative treatments. When Mr Burgiss found out his sister had thyroid problems he had gifted her a top-quality water purifier.

"He looked into details. Anything to better someone's life," she said.

As a wedding gift to Mrs Hilder and her husband, he had bought them 30 tree seedlings so they would always have firewood.

Thirty-six years later, there are still a few of the trees standing in their backyard.

Mrs Hilder said she could take solace in the fact that in her brother's final few years he had "found peace with the world".

Mr Burgiss had two "major" motorcycle crashes in the past, including one in which he lost two-and-a-half inches off one of his legs.

This had not dampened his love for motorbikes, and he had recently expressed keenness "to get on the racing track".

Mrs Burgiss said her son "was loved by all his family, from the littlest to a great-uncle who is over 90".

Relations from Australia and as far away as Scotland had travelled to Featherston to be with the family.

A funeral for Mr Burgiss is to be held in Featherston.

He will be buried in Akatarawa.

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 25 Feb 2017 22:36:37 Processing Time: 757ms