The Hawke's Bay Regional Council staff member who died in a four-wheel drive workplace accident in Central Hawke's Bay on Friday was happily married and a father of two young children.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council senior resource technician Michael Francis Taylor, 44, was killed on a rural farm in Ashley Clinton on Friday night after a vehicle he was travelling in left a farm track and rolled.

The alarm was raised on Friday night after Mr Taylor failed to return to work and his vehicle tracker was not moving.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham said Mr Taylor had called the office as he was leaving the rural worksite and that was the last they had heard from him.


Mr Graham, who paid his personal condolences to the family on Saturday, said Mr Taylor was happily married with two young children and a young wife who were understandably "distraught".

"It's never easy is it, because as I say they're very distressed. They've lost their father and husband who didn't come home from work.

"When you send your husband off to work you expect them to come home."

Hawke's Bay Regional Council resource management group manager Iain Maxwell said Mr Taylor was a senior resource technician who worked in the hydro team and monitored river levels throughout Hawke's Bay.

Mr Maxwell described Mr Taylor as a "fantastic person" and said the council's focus would now be on supporting the family and council staff.

"He was our staff member so his family is our family. We'll be doing everything we can to get them [the family] back on their feet," Mr Graham said.

Council staff, who were in shock during the weekend, would be gathering this morning, Mr Graham said.

"They'll have lots of questions and concerns."


Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule described the incident as "tragic" and said his thoughts were with family and those affected.

"To lose any council employee on the job is a tragedy for the organisation, and an absolute tragedy for the family."

A police spokeswoman said the death, which was not being treated as suspicious, had been referred to the coroner.

A WorkSafe New Zealand spokesperson said they had been notified by police on Friday evening and were making preliminary enquires to establish whether they would investigate the incident.

Friday's fatal workplace accident came just eight days after 38-year-old Hone Tamati Whaanga of Gisborne died in a work related forestry incident in the Whatatutu area of Gisborne on March 16.

The incident had been referred to the Coroner and Worksafe New Zealand.

Statistics drawn from Worksafe New Zealand indicated this death could be the first workplace fatality in Hawke's Bay this year, with three deaths recorded for both 2015 and 2016.