When police found Seth Mariu's lifeless body in his Subaru Impreza after a fatal collision, they came across a copy of the Bible open on the front passenger seat.
The 19-year-old mechanics student was travelling south from his Hamilton home to Taumarunui to pick up his father, Frank Mariu for a church service in Raetihi on Saturday morning.
But conditions were wet and Seth is understood to have lost control of his car on a corner of tate Highway 4 about 8.15am, about 12km south of Te Kuiti where he collided with a northbound BMW.
The second youngest of five siblings, Seth died at the scene.
The female driver of the other car was admitted to Te Kuiti Hospital with minor injuries.
Yesterday, Frank Mariu spoke of his son whom he said was a devoted Christian with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, who never smoked or drank.
"Police made the comment that when he crashed, his Bible must have been flung open," said Mr Mariu.
"It was on the front seat next to him."
Mr Mariu said a post-mortem examination revealed his son had died of internal injuries.
He said his son was a responsible driver who had driven the windy SH4 between Taumarunui and Te Kuiti many times. The Mariu family are now awaiting a report from investigators who are still trying to determine the cause of the accident.
"He used to work with a mechanic in Hamilton who said that Seth was a good driver, a safe driver who never did wheelies."
Apart from his interest in engines and cars, Seth was also a keen scuba diver, skier and snowboarder.
He had also recently taken up an in rodeo.
"He had a lot of interests and was involved in activities but I can't stress enough how deeply devoted he was to his faith," said Mr Mariu.
Waikato road policing manager Inspector Leo Tooman said Mr Mariu's Subaru had rotated clockwise before being struck by the oncoming vehicle.
His death has been reported to the coroner and takes the region's road toll to 51 this year.
Mr Tooman said analysing the cases this year, police had identified a concerning trend.
"Of the 43 fatal crashes 16 involved cars losing control on a curve or corner and 28 have involved vehicles not keeping left or staying in their lane."
"A number of contributing factors have been identified in these crashes which include ... over consumption of alcohol, driving too fast for the conditions including over the speed limit of signposted corners, driver fatigue and driver inattention which can include using a cellphone or even the car's stereo."
Mr Tooman said there was a degree of avoidability in many of the crashes.
"At the end of the day we can lose sight of the humanity by getting embroiled in numbers but this is 51 families who will be without loved ones to celebrate Christmas with this Sunday.
"I can assure you police and other emergency staff dealing with the trauma and follow-up work do not lose sight of the tragedy, our message is nothing is so urgent as to speed or drive when you shouldn't, allow yourself plenty of time to get where you need to this holiday season," Mr Tooman said.
Seth Mariu's tangi is to be held today at Waitetoko marae, south of Taumarunui.