A Hastings man has been identified as one of two people killed when their motorycles and a road tanker collided on a Waikato highway on Friday.

He was 59-year-old ex bodybuilder, father-of-four, and grandfather Steven Charles Ward. According to a family notice, his funeral will be held at his home in Frederick St, Mahora, tomorrow, starting at 11am, followed by burial at Waimarama.

He is survived by his wife of two-and-a-half years, Karamea.

Tributes online yesterday remembered Ward as "a lovely man ... a gentle soul".


Also killed in the State Highway 1 crash was 41-year-old father-of-three Ian Michael Emerson, of Putaruru.

The pair had been riding together about 1km north of Tokoroa when the crash happened.

One motorist posted an online tribute about moving over to let them pass as they approached Tokoroa a short while earlier, talking of the "cool cruisey dudes" who were "grinning from ear to ear especially the older dude with the ape hangers".

The motorist had giggled and commented to a passenger: "I've never seen bikers with this energy and look of total bliss like they are in their ultimate happy place".

"We followed them until just before Tokoroa and then they were gone from sight," the motorist wrote, saying soon afterwards they came across the queue from the crash. The road was closed for about six hours as police investigated.

According to national road toll statistics to Monday, the number of fatalities this year was slightly up, at 111 compared with the 109 last year to April 24.

But the number of motorcyclists among the fatalities was down from 16 to 9, although another died in a crash near Kerikeri in the Far North yesterday.

This year's fatalities include another Hawke's Bay rider who died, aged 56, in a state highway crash between Taupo and Napier in January.