Most days, Matthew Kyte's children can be heard crying for their "daddy", but he's not there to answer them.

It's been more than a year since the Napier father of six tragically died of asphyxiation when his car crashed into a tree during the early hours of September 16, 2017.

His children - Josiah, 12, Elly-May, 11, Amylia, 9, twins Grace and Gabby, 7, and Malachi, 4 have been left scarred by the loss. But the pain and heartache felt now could have been prevented, a coroner says.

Matthew Kyte tragically died in what has been labelled a
Matthew Kyte tragically died in what has been labelled a "preventable" car crash, leaving behind six young children. Photo / Supplied.

In a report released yesterday, Coroner Tim Scott said Kyte was nearly five times over the legal alcohol limit when he lost control of his vehicle at about 4.09am in Lamason St, Greenmeadows.


Coroner Scott said during his more than 30 years in practice, he struggled to recall "any example of driving which even came close to what I have encountered here".

"It is quite obvious what caused the crash. Matt was grossly intoxicated. He should have not been anywhere near a motor vehicle unless it was as a passenger."

A post-mortem found there was a blood alcohol content of 246 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 50mg.

The cause of death was positional asphyxia due to the "abnormal position of the body, or part of the body, such that breathing is impaired". Contributing factors were acute intoxication and a head injury.

Coroner Tim Scott said the only positive outcome was that nobody apart from Matt Kyte was seriously injured. Photo / Warren Buckland
Coroner Tim Scott said the only positive outcome was that nobody apart from Matt Kyte was seriously injured. Photo / Warren Buckland

"Our family has been split," wife, Holly Kyte says through deep breaths. "Drink-driving completely destroys families."

She says her children have felt the loss the hardest. "They are constantly crying for their dad."

The events changed the family dynamic. While she still has custody of their twins, the couple's four other children were put in Oranga Tamariki's care after the accident.

The couple were married for 13 years and had been separated for a year prior to Matthew's death. She remembers him as a "very protective and very loving man".


"He had the biggest heart".

On the day, Kyte had been reunited with family at a barbeque in Greenmeadows - the first since his return from living in Auckland for 12 years.

According to his mother, Ngaire Matthews, he had consumed three "large bottles" of beer by 7.30pm, before any further drinking at various bars around Napier.

"He should not have been driving at 7.30pm, yet alone at 4am," Coroner Scott said.

He drove his younger brother, Daniel Kyte in Napier city, before meeting Holly at the Rose Bar, where they both had one drink. But they became upset and parted company.

Holly later told police that Matt had "always been a binge drinker, that he could drink a 24 box of beers within a couple of hours and that he always drank and drove".

Coroner Scott says there were multiple attempts to stop Kyte from driving, including doormen at several bars in Ahuriri who refused him entry and three people who tried to prevent him from leaving the Windsock Bar later that evening,

A woman at the bar said Kyte was drunk and after being accused of stealing his car, she and another man walked to his car, before taking his keys away.

He then pushed her and grabbed the keys back before doing a U-turn and driving towards the woman and the other man, nearly hitting them.

"Had Matt survived, this sort of driving would have resulted in serious police charges - possibly attempted murder," Scott wrote.

The pair then rushed to the Z petrol station service station to phone police.

While they were there Kyte drove through the station "at speed", with the woman yelling at two girls to get out of the way to avoid being hit.

But he noted the only "real opportunity" to stop him driving was before he became seriously intoxicated, prior to 7.30pm.

"Sadly that opportunity was lost. The only positive outcome here was that nobody apart from Matt was seriously injured."

"I have made some harsh comments about Matt in this finding and I have been critical of his mother for not attempting to prevent him from driving at an early stage when he had too much to drink to drive but was probably not intoxicated.

"Save for his apparent inability not to drink and drive, I expect he was otherwise a good person and a good son well loved by his parents and his family generally."

The release of the report has brought all the family's feelings to the surface. "It's not something you get over," Daniel says.

"The coroner's report to me doesn't mean a whole lot, because at the end of the day, he is still gone." He says they already knew it was preventable. "He should never have been driving."

Holly said she interpreted the petrol station standoff differently to the coroner, claiming her husband was not the aggressor and had in fact been punched, which she said could have contributed to the crash

It is unknown how much time passed between this incident and the crash.