The 24-year-old farm worker whose vehicle crashed into a ditch as he was driving home and who then made the fateful decision to continue his trek by foot had just been promoted to farm manager and had plans to make New Zealand home.

Michael William Spink, from North Yorkshire in England, was killed about 10km further down the road after he was hit by a car on State Highway 27 near Matamata just after midnight on Saturday.

Police released his name today and said Spink had been in New Zealand for about eight months working and living on a farm in the area.

50/50 sharemilker Allen Collinson employed Spink after he replied to an advertisement for a worker last year. He arrived in June 2016.


Spink was the son of a Harrowgate, UK, farmer and was a hard worker with a real passion for agriculture, he said.

"We are really suffering. He was a really good lad both on the farm and personally. He's just one of those guys that everyone he meets likes," Collinson said.

Spink had originally planned to work in New Zealand for a year, but was in the process of applying for residency after being promoted to manage the second dairy farm Collinson managed. He was due to start the role in June 2017.

Prior to the promotion, he was Collinson's second-in-charge on the farm.

Spink lived about 6km away from the farm in Walton Village, but Collinson said due to the direction he was heading he was probably walking to his farm near Matamata Aerodrome as he was on milking the next morning.

"He was probably just going to change into some of my clothes and milk in the morning."

His sense of humour and smile would be missed on the farm.

"He was a genuine funny, nice guy. I know everyone probably says this when things like this happen but this guy really was. He was a pleasure to work with. He always had a smile on his face - he loved New Zealand, he loved New Zealand farming.

Waharoa farmer Eric Muckle who owned the farm Spink was working on in Waharoa said his death had affected the farm and workers.

"We are all grieving at the moment.

"He loved it here. He was just embracing the Kiwi style of farming that he really loved. I think his idea was that he might even come and make a stay here."

The farmers had spoken with Spink's UK-based family who were still coming to terms with the news. His funeral would be in England.

Police inquiries have established he had been socialising with friends in Matamata earlier in the night.

At 11.30pm, he left Matamata in his vehicle.

"His vehicle was located shortly after in a ditch on State Highway 27."

Police said it appeared he had exited his vehicle and decided to walk about 10km to the farm where he was living.

"As he has been walking north along State Highway 27 towards Waharoa, he has been struck from behind by a vehicle."

The driver of the car stopped immediately and contacted police, however, the man died at the scene.

"The driver was breath-tested at the scene and this indicated he had no alcohol in his system."

A post-mortem examination was conducted yesterday and police are awaiting the results of a toxicology report.

"Police extend our thoughts and sympathies to the family of the man and to those affected by the tragic events of this accident."