The death of a Murupara forestry worker has been described by the Rotorua coroner as the "most unfortunate and tragic accident".

An inquest was held in Rotorua today into the death of 63-year-old father of four David Charles Beamsley.

Mr Beamsley, who was an experienced tree feller, died in Kaingaroa Forest on November 26 last year, after he was struck by a falling tree stem.

The inquest is part of a joint inquiry in Rotorua which focuses on eight workers who died while working in New Zealand forests in 2012 and 2013.


Mr Beamsley's case is the third Coroner Dr Wallace Bain has now heard evidence from, with another case, that of George Mahanga, expected to be heard next week.

"I consider it important that these inquests are dealt with in a timely way, so that the circumstances in which these men died can be communicated to those working in, and managing, forestry, so that similar deaths can be avoided in the future," Dr Bain said.

"The number of deaths of men working in this sector is too high."

The inquest heard from two witnesses, Dipak Makan, from Worksafe New Zealand, and Nicholas Steen, from PF Olsen Limited, which manages the forest.

Mr Beamsley worked for Balco Logging Limited, which harvests the forest.

Mr Makan said Mr Beamsley had always followed protocol, calling in with his radio to notify his fellow employees about every 40 minutes, as required.

On the day of his death, Mr Beamsley had been in regular contact until his last call at 2.23pm. About 3pm, his workmates and employer became concerned they hadn't heard from him so went looking for him. They found him lying face down, with a branch on top of him. He died shortly afterwards.

Mr Makan said it appeared that after felling a fourth tree, one of the trees split in two parts, one of 7m and the other of 31m.


Mr Steen described Mr Beamsley as a very experienced worker with a vast knowledge of the forestry sector, having worked in it for years.

"He was a very experienced and humble man, he knew his job very well. He was always consistent and well-respected by the crew for the work that he did," he said.

He always complied with the rules and regulations, Mr Steen said.

The inquest also heard from one of Mr Beamsley's daughters, Angelia Beamsley, who said she inherited many of her father's traits, including his sharp awareness of what surrounded him, his consistency and his strong work ethic.

"No one will ever know exactly what happened that day, because no one saw it, but I know my dad, he knew what he was doing and he consistently followed protocol."

Holding back tears, Ms Beamsley said it was uplifting for her to gain more of an understanding of her father's death.


She was supported by her sisters and her mother, Mr Beamsley's partner, Karina Howden.

After hearing the evidence, Dr Bain said it appeared Mr Beamsley was a experienced forestry worker who knew the job well and always followed good procedure.

"It just seemed as though he was caught was clearly a most unfortunate and tragic accident."