A young forest worker died yesterday afternoon in an accident in a forest in the Mangatokerau area 10 kilometres inland from Anaura Bay when he fell on a skid site in the forest.

He was 23-year-old Te Oho Mauri Piripi Bartlett, known at 'Piri' Bartlett who lived in Gisborne.

His family say the death took place on the first anniversary of a relative's death - also in a forestry accident.

Police said Bartlett was born and bred in Te Araroa.


He was a young father and he and his partner Te Rangi Marie welcomed their first child nearly a year ago.

Police, the Tolaga Bay first response unit and the ECT rescue helicopter were alerted about the accident at around 2.30pm yesterday.

"The man's workmates attempted to resuscitate him and they were assisted by the Tolaga Bay first responders," said St John territory manager Shane Clapperton.

"But unfortunately he did not respond and when the ECT chopper arrived the paramedics on board pronounced Mr Bartlett deceased."

His body has been taken to Rotorua for a post-mortem examination.

WorkSafe New Zealand and police have an inquiry under way to determine the circumstances surrounding the death.

"At this stage we are unable to comment on those circumstances or the nature of Mr Bartlett's fall," said Tolaga Bay police officer Constable Andrew Trafford.

"Our thoughts are with his whanau and friends at this tragic time."

Family spokesman Willie Waitoa said this morning said the accident had been "heartbreaking for the whole family and Piri's friends".

"It was exactly a year ago today that our cousin Niko Brooking-Hodgson also lost his life in a forestry accident.

"It is so sad that Piri's son Rehua is going to grow up without a dad."

Brooking-Hodgson, a former Gisborne rugby player, died in an accident in a forest between Napier and Taupo.

Victim Support has been in contact with Bartlett's family and offered their support.

The fatality follows the serious accident in a forest in the Tauwhareparae area inland from Tolaga Bay on August 14.

In that accident a forest worker in his 40s lost a leg when it was crushed by a log.

It is the third fatal forestry accident in this district this year, and the second in New Zealand in a week.

A 20-year-old man died in a forest accident in Marlborough last Thursday when the log hauler he was operating rolled off a track.

- Gisborne Herald