The felling of a rotten tree was the cause of death of a 31-year-old forestry worker in a Wharerata forest south of Gisborne last year, a coroner's report has found.

Kenny Aaron Callow died on October 5, 2011 of multiple severe soft tissue and skeletal injuries when he was struck by a tree he was felling.

Coroner Chris Devonport said Mr Callow was felling a dead tree (spar) which appeared to be rotten.

He scarfed (front cut) the spar and completed a back cut in the rear.


He then walked back and behind this spar and scarfed a second tree, possibly in an attempt to use this good tree to drive the dead spar over.

As he completed scarfing the second spar, the first spar fell backwards and struck Mr Callow, causing fatal injuries, Mr Devonport said.

He had worked for a Gisborne forestry contractor for about two years and was described as a highly-skilled feller, who was audited monthly.