The family of a man who was killed when a mystery object smashed through his windscreen believe someone out there knows what happened.

Rutger Hale, 22, died on October 24 when something hit him in the head as he drove between Lake Hawea and Wanaka.

His Alaskan girlfriend Danielle Oylear was in the passenger seat at the time of the tragedy and had to remove Mr Hale's foot from the accelerator and steer the Subaru to safety.

A coroner's inquest into the incident will take place in Queenstown today, something family members welcomed and dreaded in almost equal measures.


"It's affected everyone differently," Mr Hale's great uncle Peter Phillips said.

"Some of us want a bit of closure around it; others just want to leave it alone."

Three weeks ago, police - who have still not found the object that killed Mr Hale - made another appeal to the public to disclose any information which may help progress the case.

Though he was staying positive, Mr Phillips was realistic about the coroner's hearing providing them with definitive answers about the circumstances of the freak accident.

He believed the only way that would happen was if somebody finally came forward.

"Whether it came off the back of the vehicle, I don't know, but there's another person involved somewhere," Mr Phillips said.

"My gut feeling is someone definitely knows something."

After hearing Ms Olyear's description of events, his theory was that a brick killed Mr Hale.


But hearing the mindless hypotheses and guess work from other people had been painful.

"Nothing's going to bring him back," said Mr Phillips.

"We've [had] all these idiots saying it was a meteorite or someone shot him or someone threw something and it's just endless crap. Hopefully we'll know a bit more [after the hearing]."

Mr Hale and his partner had recently returned to New Zealand after a road trip around the US.

They were living in Hawea and working at Devon Dairy Farms.

"They had everything to look forward to. They were so happy," Mr Phillips said.

Ms Olyear vowed to stay on after the accident and has stuck to her word after immigration extended her visa and the farm kept a job open for her.

Mr Phillips said she was as positive as could be expected but was apprehensive about reliving the incident of 11 months ago.

The inquest will be conducted by Coroner Richard McElrea.