The death of a 21-year-old man who became stuck in a hay baler on a farm at Five Forks yesterday was the fifth on a rural property in the Waitaki district in the past six months.

Police and Fire and Emergency New Zealand were called to a property near the intersection of Kakanui Valley Rd, Whitestone Five Forks Rd and Fuchsia Creek Rd, west of Oamaru, about 11am.

A WorkSafe spokeswoman confirmed the man died after becoming stuck in the hay baler and an investigation had been launched.

It was the 17th farm fatality in New Zealand this year and the fifth this month, she said.


Sergeant Blair Wilkinson, of Oamaru, confirmed the Waitaki man was "killed in an accident while working a piece of farm machinery on the property".

There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

North Otago Federated Farmers president Simon Williamson said he was aware of the incident, but did not know the details.

"At this stage I don't know anything about it, but we offer our condolences to the family. There is never a good time of year for anything like that but this is terrible."

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the victim and his family were well known in the community.

"Obviously, our thoughts and sympathies are with all the people who are involved," he said.

"It's another farm fatality - one was too many and now this ... It's really hitting home.

"I think it hurts even more with the timing ... but also when it's someone who is really young and got a great future ahead of them that has strong connections to the community."

Nadine Tomlinson, of Dunback, and her 3-year-old son Angus, died in September when the tractor and trailer unit she was driving slipped into a reservoir on the property.

Donald Dennison, of Palmerston, died earlier this month when the 4WD vehicle he was driving crashed down a 200m bluff.

In June, another Palmerston man, Craig Porter, died after the ute he was travelling in rolled on a farm near Dunback.