A Taheke couple and mystery tractor driver have proved Far North hospitality is alive and well after going above and beyond to help a Christchurch man following a nasty collision with a possum.
In the early hours of last Wednesday morning, Michael Green was travelling through Taheke near Waima along SH12 when his 2015 Honda ST 1300 struck a possum.
Michael explained the reason for travelling so late was that he was undertaking a self-challenge to clock up 1600km in 24 hours or less on the shortest day of the year.
He said he was on his way back to his brother's place in Hamilton from Cape Reinga when the impact of the crash sent him hurtling into a roadside ditch, making him momentarily black out.
"I was coming around a corner when I hit a possum with the front wheel of my bike and ended up in the scrub," Michael said.
After coming to, Michael said he managed to extract himself from under his bike and stand up.
He said when he turned around, he was met with a man standing behind him in the darkness with a torch.
"I said, 'G'day, how you going? and he said, 'Better than you by the look of it'!"
The man was Tenari Tagataese, the owner of a house just opposite where the accident occurred.
He and his wife, Avril, had been asleep when she was woken by the sound of skidding, followed by a loud thud.
"I woke up to this kind of sliding motion coming around the corner and was listening to hear if it was livestock as they often roam around here at night," Avril said.
"I also listened out to hear the dogs bark, but they didn't react, so I asked my husband to go see what was going on.
"It was so dark and we couldn't see anyone, but we could see a dim light, so thought someone must have gone into the ditch."
Avril said there had been a few incidents at the same spot during the past three years the couple had lived at the property.
She said Tenari walked over to the scene where he found Michael, bloodied and bruised.
Avril explained she met them there shortly afterwards with the car and drove them all back to the house.
"I have recently completed a first aid course, so knew to talk to him [Michael] lots and to keep the conversation going to make sure he was okay," she said.
"I also knew it was important to provide him with lots of reassurance."
Avril said she made a cup of tea for Michael, who at that stage was feeling pretty shaky, but reluctant to leave his bike and be checked out by a doctor.
"My leg was bleeding and Avril took a look at it and said I needed to get it looked at, so she kindly took me to Rawene Hospital," Michael said.
"The hospital staff were amazing, lovely people too, who went the whole nine yards and gave me a bed to rest in until my brother came up from Hamilton the next day.
"It was funny because when everyone asked me what happened and I told them about the possum, many said I was lucky it wasn't a horse or a cow, which is quite normal around here!"
Tenari made a call into the hospital the next day after dropping his kids off to see if Michael was okay.
Not long after Michael's brother David arrived, the pair returned to the crash site, trailer in tow, to retrieve the written-off motorcycle.
Michael said because of the position of the bike, they needed to find someone with a tractor with a tie bucket to help launch it out of the scrub.
The stars continued to align that day for Michael, who happened to run into a man on a tractor just 150m down the road.
"I never caught his name, but he was doing some kind of sawmill work and when we asked if he could help, he just said 'no worries' and helped us get the bike onto the trailer," Michael said.
"We then went down to see Avril and Tenari, who had been keeping an eye on my bike while I was away.
"Everyone was just so helpful and really made this whole experience so much easier to get through - they've restored my faith in humanity."
Michael said he contacted the Northland Age to give a shout-out to everyone who had helped him during such a scary time.
"That's just our community way and I'd like to think if it wasn't us, then someone else would have helped," Avril said.
"Especially finding out he's not local and far away from home, I'd hope others would also want to help someone stuck in that type of predicament.
"We'd like to give Michael our best wishes with his travelling and future adventures."
The Northland Age attempted to get the details of the mystery tractor driver, but we were unable to find out any more about who he was.
Michael is now back in Hamilton recovering and is due to fly home this week when his legs have settled down.