Hastings businessman and father of four Todd Cater unexpectedly died yesterday at Hawke's Bay Hospital.

Aged 53, he was the owner of car dealership Team Todd Cater on Heretaunga Street West.

His son Harrison released a statement on behalf of the family.

"Todd was an enormously loved father and husband and his sudden death at Hawke's Bay Hospital in the early hours of this morning (October 28) was a huge shock to our family, friends and to everyone who knew him," the statement said.


"Todd was a well-known Hawke's Bay businessman and loved nothing more than being with family, his boat and selling cars.

"He had an unbelievable passion for sport, coaching both his sons Harrison and Nick through from barefoot to full-field footy. His passion for sport didn't stop there - full interest was dedicated to Catherine's Hockey and Alexa's netball.

"As a family we can't begin to say how this sudden loss has affected us and we thank everyone who has already been in touch and is helping to support us."

Todd Bradley Cater was the owner of Team Todd Cater and got his start in the motor industry when Mike Toogood Motors employed him as a salesman in the 1980s. Mr Cater later bought a half share and ran the business, Cater Toogood Motors, before becoming sole owner.

"He was wonderfully engaging with people - customers loved him and he was a real service-orientated salesman," Mr Toogood said.

"He was a great family man and had a tremendous following at work. People would return to Todd and bring their friends and family. He was very successful.

"Todd was a bloody hard worker. Sometimes we have our challenges in business but Todd had a huge amount of energy and commitment.

"It was very hard to say no to Todd."

Tom Blake coached rugby at Havelock North Rugby Club when Mr Cater was junior convener.

"He always had a smile on his dial and when you saw him it was always a friendly g'day and a friendly chat," he said.

"He had a way with the kids he coached and the passion he had for rugby shone through. He had them in the palm of his hand."

Funeral details have not yet been confirmed. Tributes can be made online at tlas.co.nz or messages posted to the Cater family, c/o PO Box 8561, Havelock North 4157.