A Bay of Plenty man who was killed while riding his motorcycle near Paengaroa was regarded as a talented and creative tattooist and was planning to open his own business.

Aterea Paurini Daulton Moke, 29, of Rotorua, collided with a car on State Highway 33 on Friday night, said Tauranga police.

It was possible he was also hit by a second vehicle soon after he came off his motorcycle, they said.

Vivien Moke, of Ngapuna, said the death of her nephew had left a "huge hole in the whanau".

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"It is an absolute shock to us all. He was known as the boy with the big heart."

Mr Moke died only weeks before his 30th birthday.

Mrs Moke said as the eldest grandson of the late Te Arawa kaumata Eria Moke, Mr Moke was in "crucial position "at the head of the whanau".

"It is a huge loss to our family."

Mr Moke had been planning to set up his own tattooing and body piercing business in Rotorua after working in the profession in Sydney for many years.

"He really flourished in Sydney where he was well regarded by his employers for his skill," she said.

"They would be astounded at times by his ability to draw complex designs from memory."

Mr Moke was a dedicated family man to his partner, Katarina, and his five sons, she said.

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While waiting to start his own business, Mr Moke used his mechanical skills to do up second hand motorcycles which he on-sold to family and friends, she said. "He was extremely creative and innovative."

He was also known for his generosity, she said.

Mr Moke's body will be taken to Hurunga Te Rangi Marae today.

He will be buried at the marae urupa next to his grandfather.

Tauranga police confirmed the vehicle involved in the fatal collision with Mr Moke's motorbike was a car.

Police are asking any drivers or occupants of vehicles who travelled on SH33 at the time of the crash to check their vehicle for minor damage, said Acting Senior Sergeant Owen O'Brien.

Police said yesterday no one had come forward with information so they would be re-interviewing witnesses.

It was the first of three crashes involving a motorcycle in the Bay over the weekend.

A 57-year-old woman was in a critical condition at Waikato Hospital yesterday after sustaining serious head injuries when the motorbike she was a passenger on crashed into a a traffic light pole at the intersection of Cameron Rd and 15th Ave about 5pm on Saturday.

A man, who was riding the motorbike, was taken to Tauranga Hospital with minor injuries. The woman was flown to Waikato Hospital for treatment on Saturday evening. Sergeant Wayne Hunter said early indications were speed may have been a factor. No other vehicles were thought to be involved.

"They somehow lost control in the middle of the intersection, got the speed wobbles and hit the traffic lights," he said.

The pair were travelling west on 15th Ave and hit the traffic light pole between the four traffic lanes, bending the pole and causing the lights to fall from the top on one side. Police and firefighters worked to clear spilt fuel and redirect traffic as a section of Cameron Rd outside Tauranga Boys College was closed until about 7pm.

Yesterday afternoon the Tauranga-based Trustpower TECT rescue helicopter was called to a motorcycle crash in the Waioeka Gorge.

A 54-year-old Tauranga man crashed his motorbike into a barrier in the gorge and received lower leg fractures. His pillion passenger was thrown from the bike but received only minor injuries. The rider was flown to Tauranga Hospital in a moderate condition for treatment.

Additional reporting Amy McGillivray and Rebecca Savory