The man killed in a forestry incident yesterday, north of Napier, was a rugby player who had potential to take his rugby career further in the future.

Former Gisborne man Niko Brooking was killed while working in Pohokura Forest, between Napier and Taupo, when a steel cable struck him, an initial WorkSafe notification said.

The 24-year-old was a former Poverty Bay representative and Gisborne Pirates club rugby player and had played for Clive, in Hawke's Bay this year.

He played for the Clive Premier team as a blind side flanker and lock. He also played some games for the second team.


Coach Blair Cross said Mr Brooking had a way of keeping the mood light amongst the players, "he could be a bit of a joker".

He had moved to Hawke's Bay at the start of the season for work and family.

"He had a pretty good background," in terms of his rugby career, Mr Cross said, which he "lived up to pretty quickly".

"He came from nowhere, sort of, into a squad that had been together for years."

"He was new to the club but earned the respect of his team mates pretty quickly."

Mr Cross said the rugby player would be sadly missed.

He has left behind a young child and his partner.

WorkSafe inspectors went to the scene where Mr Brooking died after St John ambulance, police and Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter arrived.

The WorkSafe spokesman said while this was the initial finding, it may not reflect actual circumstances of the incident.

The investigation is ongoing.

Hawke's Bay Today understands Mr Brooking was an employee of Hawke's Bay contractor DG Glenn Logging.

Pan Pac managing director Doug Ducker said the forestry company had been contracted to work on one of their sites.

"Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues.. it's a very tragic situation and we'll support our contractor the best we can," Mr Ducker said.