A man killed when he was trapped in a harvester in Hawke's Bay last week has been identified as 61-year-old Whakatu market gardener and father-of-four Guan Hong Su.

He died about 5.15 on the Monday evening of April 23 at his gardens off State Highway 2, south of the main road's intersection with Station Rd, Whakatu.

His identity and details were the subject of a coroner's order prohibiting publication prior to the funeral, which was held in Napier yesterday. The order of Wellington-based coroner Peter Ryan lapsed at 6am today.

The coroner revealed Su appeared to have died from injuries received when his clothing tangled in a power take-off shaft driving a machine designed to harvest kumara.


Survived by wife Xiu Fei, four adult children and two grandchildren, his funeral was held yesterday at Dunstall Memorial Chapel, Napier, followed by burial at Western Hills Cemetery.

The coroner said in declining an application for permanent suppression on publication there was significant public interest, and there may be lessons which may benefit others involved in similar business, but those lessons could not be learned if there was prohibition on publication of the circumstances of the death.

No findings have yet been made relating to the tragedy, with police having investigated at the scene and government health and safety agency Worksafe NZ now involved in an inquiry expected to take at least several months.