A champion South African boxer travelling to his parents' Northland home is the latest victim of a notorious stretch of road near Auckland.

Tyrone Anthony Kairuz, 36, was killed along State Highway 1 in Dome Valley last Friday evening.

Waitemata District's road policing manager, Inspector Trevor Beggs, said the "horror crash" involved a ute towing a boat and another smaller vehicle.

Clive Wilson told the Herald his good mate's death has left his family and friends in shock and disbelief.


"He'd been my friend for about 16-odd years, and for us as a group of friends he was one of the most genuine people you could ever ask to [meet]," he said.

Kairuz grew up and was educated in Johannesburg, where he was a champion boxer for his age group and weight, before immigrating to New Zealand about 2000.

"He adapted pretty quickly into the Kiwi lifestyle," Wilson said. "I started flatting with him after he moved from South Africa."

He said Kairuz's parents had recently moved to Northland from Australia, and Kairuz was planning to also move north from Auckland to help his father with the family business.

The keen fisherman had been working as a quality control technician at Buckley Systems Ltd in Mt Wellington.

Kairuz's younger brother, Darren, says his brother made the family proud.

"I was blessed to have Tyrone as a brother," Darren said.

"He had a wide range of interests and hobbies and was our family's champion boxer who made his parents extremely proud. We will always remember him for the good person he was and the funny things he did to make us laugh. There was never a dull moment with him around. He will be sorely missed."

Kairuz was also passionate about abstract art, Wilson said.

"It was a very big thing for him, abstract art. The amount of paintings he had he could pretty much open a gallery.

"It's pretty difficult, we've lost a few people, but this is one of the more trying ones ... his parents obviously are going through hell."

The Serious Crash Unit's investigation is ongoing.

Dome Valley: One of New Zealand's most notorious roads

Dome Valley (pictured here after a 2010 crash), has been a blackspot for several years. Photo / Dean Purcell
Dome Valley (pictured here after a 2010 crash), has been a blackspot for several years. Photo / Dean Purcell

With its narrow and windy road, Dome Valley is known for car crashes and has been the subject of several New Zealand Transport Agency improvements.

This Easter weekend, Auckland and Northland police are also adding extra resources to the road to counter the heavy traffic and dangerous driving conditions, as severe weather again hits the North Island.

However, despite Dome Valley's death road perception, Beggs told the Herald there had been a significant reduction in fatal and serious crashes during the past few years.

Extra safety features have been added to the road, including rumble strips, which alert a driver if they cross the centre line, and an LED sign on one of the most dangerous blackspot bends. Since the sign was erected there have been no fatal or serious crashes at the corner, Beggs said.

While there are no current plans for a variable speed limit in Dome Valley, Beggs also said a lower limit, introduced in 2007 (from 100km/h to 80km/h), has helped.

In the three years before the speed limit was lowered, there were 36 crashes and 7 fatalities in Dome Valley. In the 10 years since there have been 11 deaths.

"The speed that you travel will determine what happens - the severity of the injuries. You could be the best driver on the road, but if someone makes a mistake and crosses into your lane, and you're speeding, you're not going to have the time to react and avoid disaster," Beggs said.

While every road death was a tragedy, NZTA Northland highway manager Brett Gliddon said from 2011 to 2015 there were no reported crashes resulting in death in Dome Valley.

During 2015 there were also no serious injuries reported.

"Dome Valley has been monitored for many years and a variety of projects have made a significant difference to reduce both the number and severity of crashes," Gliddon said.

"The level and quality of the road surface and its effect on loss-of-control type crashes in the wet was identified as an area of concern."

He said road chip, which offers better skid resistance, has been installed on the highway, and has resulted in a "remarkable turnaround in the number of crashes".

"There is still work to do in reducing the number of loss of control crashes in the Dome Valley but the work we've undertaken in the past few years is already making a significant difference."

NZTA is planning further road improvements during the next few years, including the installation of safety barriers and widening shoulders where possible.

"In the last 10 years 65 per cent of deaths and serious injuries in Dome Valley have been from head-on crashes," Gliddon said.

In February, NZTA said the proposed route for a new 27km motorway between Warkworth and Wellsford will make traveling between Northland and Auckland safer, faster and easier.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said last month the Government remains committed to the project, despite the anticipated cost rising from $494 million to up to $1.9 billion since it was first announced by former Transport Minister Steven Joyce in 2009.

NZTA has estimated 19 deaths will be prevented every 5 years once the motorway is in place - a reduction of 80 per cent.

Beggs said the proposed motorway would "see quite a difference" to the number of crashes in Dome Valley.

"Motorways are the safest kind of roads - divided roads."

In May last year, NZTA also announced it would be improving drainage through Dome Valley to make the road more resilient to high rainfall levels, flooding and slips.

- The statistics used in this story relate to SH1 from Wayby Valley Rd to L Phillips Rd, including intersections.