Two motorcyclists unknown to each other.

One, a 59-year-old married grandfather, amateur bodybuilder, orcharder and rugby player from Hawke's Bay.

The other a 41-year-old married father of three from Waikato.

Their lives collided at 2.40pm Friday on State Highway 1 near Tokoroa where they crashed into each other on their motorbikes. Both died at the scene.


Steven Charles Ward, 59, was heading north, 220km from his home in Hastings.

Ian Michael Emerson, 41, was heading south, and just 14km from his home in Putaruru.

One of the men was overtaking a tanker when they collided, throwing one of them into the tanker's path.

Ward, a former Waipawa Rugby Club player and pipfruit orcharder, was described in a social media tribute from a friend: "He was my hero and will always be in my heart as an example of getting through pain to love."

Emerson was a husband, and father of three.

A death notice read: "Love you and we'll miss you. You will always be in our hearts," the notice read.

A graveside service for Emerson will be held at the Putaruru Domain Road Cemetery today.

It is not known where the men had been or were travelling to, as families of the two men declined to comment when approached by the Herald this week.

Today, Taupo Senior Sergeant Fane Troy said police have established that the two riders were travelling in opposite directions.

He said the motorcycles collided head-on in the southbound passing lane. As a result of the impact, one rider was thrown into the path of the tanker he was overtaking.

The tanker was not directly involved in the collision and Emerson and Ward were not known to each other, he said.

Police told the Herald this week that road and weather conditions at the time of the crash were dry and and fine.

The Taupo Serious Crash Unit is investigating.

Troy earlier said the crash scene was complex and covered 200m of the highway.

The road was closed for several hours, reopening shortly after 9.15pm.

At the time of the crash, he said police wanted to remind motorcyclists to be careful, ride to the conditions and know their limits.

"This was a tragedy for all involved and our thoughts are with the friends and family of those affected," Troy said.