Staff at Ports of Auckland are absolutely devastated and deeply affected by the death of a colleague who was killed by a container on board a ship last week, the organisation says.
Father of seven Palaamo Kalati, aged 31, has been named as the man who died in the incident - now the centre of an inquiry.
Kalati, a lasher, died about 2am last Sunday, August 30, on a ship at the Fergusson Container Terminal.
"We are all absolutely devastated by the death of a member of our port whānau, Pala'amo (Amo) Kalati last Sunday morning. Our love and prayers are with his family and friends, and we will continue to stand alongside them to give our support," Ports of Auckland posted on its Facebook page today.
"We are a big whānau here at the port, so everyone is deeply affected by what has happened. All of our staff have been offered access to counselling services, which will be available for as long as necessary."
The post said the organisation cared deeply about the safety and wellbeing of staff.
"In recent years a great deal of effort has gone into making the port a safer place to work, which makes this event even more painful. We are fully supporting the official investigation into this incident to find out what went wrong," the Auckland Council-owned entity said.
Although it will be providing some support for the family, the organisation said those who wished to help Kalati's family could do so through a Givealittle page that has been set up by the brother of the late wharfie's wife.
The death is being investigated by Maritime NZ rather than WorkSafe because the incident happened on board a ship.
Ports of Auckland had previously said it would not make any comment on the circumstances of the incident as an investigation was under way.
Kalati was fondly known as Amo to friends, and was a member of the Bay Roskill Rugby League Premier team in 2012.
The club said on its Facebook page that he was a player who "played extremely tough" and always "gave his all".
"He will be remembered for his smile and his politeness."
Pt Chevalier Pirates, a family Rugby League club, described Kalati as a devoted family man.
"His cheeky sense of humour, big grin and even bigger heart will truly be missed," the club said on its Facebook page.
Kalati would reluctantly referee games as he hated the extra attention, it said.
"After the games he would have something to say (like) 'So you guys think I'm ready for NRL next week', or 'I know I'm the best-looking referee you ever seen," the club's post said.
"Amo we all will miss seeing you and hearing your witty jokes."
Kalati is survived by his wife Dro, and his children Jairus, Mischa, Azra, Braxton, Sarai, Iman and Kalais.