The Taranaki father who collapsed and died after a fight with his son was well-known suicide prevention advocate Tama Eminukutepua.

Eminukutepua, 57, collapsed after an altercation with his son outside a property on Pukatea St in Inglewood.

Police were called to the property about 7.30pm after reports of two men fighting, and although Eminukutepua was treated by an ambulance, he died at the scene about 8.30pm.

Tama Eminukutepua at the AMP Scholarship Awards last year. Photo / Facebook
Tama Eminukutepua at the AMP Scholarship Awards last year. Photo / Facebook

Friends and family of Eminukutepua have taken to social media to place tributes for the man who was the national chairman of Aotearoa Riders Against Teen Suicide - or R.A.T.S.

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He was also the founder of the Taranaki Suicide Prevention Crisis Response.

A post on the Hawkes Bay R.A.T.S Facebook page sent a "huge mihi out to the Eminukutepua whanau" and said it was a very sad occasion.

Northland RATS board chair Hone Mihaka said he would be greatly missed.

"He was a mover and shaker in the movement in terms of raising awareness around suicide and he made a hell of a lot of things happen in Taranaki.

"He was a great leader of the movement and had the support of all of the regions," he said.

"He had himself been through the hard times in life and had seen the horrors of life, so he wanted to contribute to changing the future.

"There won't be another Tama, that is for sure. He brought a lot of people together and highlighted a lot of issues around suicide. He was a great New Zealander."

Tama Eminukutepua was the national chairman of Aotearoa Riders Against Teen Suicide - or R.A.T.S. Photo / Facebook
Tama Eminukutepua was the national chairman of Aotearoa Riders Against Teen Suicide - or R.A.T.S. Photo / Facebook

Mihaka said the loss of Eminukutepua will have a huge impact on the RATS community.

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"I can say for and on behalf of the Aotearoa RATS that a great tree has fallen from the midst of the forest, and the loss of that tree will indeed be felt throughout the forest.

"I encourage all people that knew Tama to have courage and support one another during this time."

Mental health not-for-profit Voices of Hope also paid tribute to a man who was a "leader and a provoker of change".

"We are saddened to hear of the passing of fellow suicide prevention advocate Tama Eminukutepua," its Facebook post said.

"Tama was a key part of Riders Against Teenage Suicide and had a heart for the broken whom he spoke hope into.

"We had the honour of winning an AMP scholarship alongside him last year, both as advocates wanting to help others.

"We will continue to fight for those you fought for. Rest in love Tama. Thoughts and prayers are with your family on this day."

Voices of Hope co-founder Jazz Thornton said she met Eminukutepua a couple of times at events.

"In the times I got to talk with him, his heart for those struggling shone through. He was determined to make change, break stereotypes and bring hope," she said.

"He was a strong suicide prevention advocate, a leader and a provoked of change. His work is so very appreciated and will be remembered."

Eminukutepua won a $10,000 AMP National Scholarship last year for his work in mental health and driving after hours support to reduce suicide.

HopeWalk Christchurch have also expressed their sadness at Eminukutepua's passing.

Northland RATS board chair Hone Mihaka said Tama Eminukutepua's death will have a huge impact on the RATS community.
Northland RATS board chair Hone Mihaka said Tama Eminukutepua's death will have a huge impact on the RATS community.

The charitable trust's committee member Robert Read said Eminukutepua had been a dear friend to him and an absolute inspiration.

"Many of you may not know who this man was, he IS a legend to many," he wrote.

Read told the Herald that Eminukutepua was lined up to be one of the special guest speakers at this years HopeWalk Christchurch.

"He was specifically flying down because of how much he believes in this cause," he said.

"Personally he has been a real inspiration for the work that I do and anytime I was personally struggling, he was one of the people I would always turn to get advice.

"One of the awesome things about Tama was he was straight up the guts, no bullshit. He doesn't beat around the bush and was really blunt, but very caring."

He said Eminukutepua's death was a huge loss to the suicide prevention movement.

"Although he has passed, his work will live on and what he stood for and believed in will live on through the rest of us and through the lives he has touched."

Eminukutepua was also the founding party president of the United Peoples Movement NZ.

Current party president James Falepau Upm said he was a very integral part of the movement.

"The hours upon hours of work that went in by this man to help shape the foundation of the movement will never be forgotten.

"Personally, I will be forever grateful for having the pleasure of working with such a dedicated talented man," he said.

"He was a very knowledgeable man and very dedicated. He was a very passionate person in regards to suicide prevention and reforming our justice system."

Suicide prevention advocate Mike King labelled said he'd only caught up with Eminukutepua on Tuesday and was gutted to hear of his death.

"I was with him on Tuesday. Absolutely salt of the earth guy. Sad loss."

Detective Senior Sergeant Phil Skoglund said this morning that police are making inquiries on behalf of the coroner following the death.

"Police have spoken to the people involved and witnesses, and are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident," Skoglund said.

"Arrangements for a post mortem are underway."