A prominent young martial arts sportsman died yesterday afternoon when the four-wheel-drive ATV vehicle he was driving left a farm track on a Landcorp property inland from Gisborne and rolled down a steep bank.
He was 25-year-old Jamie Scott van der Kuijl of Gisborne, who was Wairoa's sportsperson of the year five years ago.
He was one of two men on the machine.
"The accident happened at 3.30pm when the ATV Mr van der Kuijl was driving went off a farm track and plunged 15 to 20 metres down a steep bank," said Constable Tim Winchester of Manutuke police.
"The vehicle rolled several times as it went down the bank and Mr van der Kuijl and a 17-year-old passenger were both thrown from it as it rolled."
"Mr van der Kuijl died at the scene," Mr Winchester said.
Another farm worker with them raised the alarm by radio.
"They had been returning to the farm house where they were staying after a day's docking when the accident occurred."
The injured teenager was taken by other farm workers to the farm house.
The ECT rescue helicopter was called out along with police and two fire service crews from Gisborne.
"The teenager with Mr van der Kuijl had suffered minor leg and shoulder injuries," said St John territory manager Shane Clapperton, who was on board the helicopter.
The St John crew pronounced Mr van der Kuijl deceased, then went to tend to the injured youth.
"He was flown to the emergency department at Gisborne Hospital for treatment."
Mr van der Kuijl's body was recovered last night and taken to Gisborne.
"A coroner's investigation has been opened into the accident," Constable Winchester said.
"A police serious crash investigation is under way alongside a WorkSafe inquiry."
Mr van der Kuijl is the son of Leigh Jones and John van der Kuijl.
He was educated in the district at Mangapapa Primary School, Gisborne Intermediate and Wairoa College.
He also spent a couple of years at Otumoetai College in Tauranga.
He attended EIT Wairoa and became involved in the Wairoa Thai boxing club, where he began to develop his considerable prowess as a Muai Thai kickboxer.
He was Wairoa's sportsperson of the Year in 2010.