Returning to the place where a truck hit and killed his cycling girlfriend has been an important journey for German visitor Jonathan Guggenbichler.
His girlfriend Mia Pusch was killed when a truck hit her bicycle on a State Highway 3 passing lane about 4km north of Bulls. The accident happened at 11.50am on January 5, 2010. The German woman was just 19, and partway through three months' travel on her own in New Zealand.
She had just spent Christmas with friends in the South Island, and was on her way back to Auckland.
She and Guggenbichler lived in different towns in Germany and met through Scouts. She was a strong and independent person and a Scout leader, he said. During her New Zealand trip she would email him when she could find a computer.
She also wrote a blog, and in the few days before the accident commented on truck drivers, calling them "beasts" and "a nasty species driving permanently at a phenomenal speed". They would swerve past her, honking their horns, she said.
At home in Germany Guggenbichler only learned of Pusch's death when her mother searched out his phone number and rang him. It was a terrible shock.
"I wasn't able to think anything," he said.
He attended her large funeral at Kirtof but wasn't able to talk to anyone about her death.
His father noticed his distress, and the two made a two-week trip to New Zealand soon after the death. They met up with cyclists and with them made the "white bike" memorial where Pusch died.
Accepting her death has been "a hard challenge" for Guggenbichler. But he has since moved to another town and finished a degree in social work.
On his return to New Zealand this month, he and Peter Russell went back to the bicycle memorial and tidied it up. They planted flowers, cleared away grass and repainted the bike.
Guggenbichler feels no hate for the truck driver who hit his girlfriend. The Whanganui man appeared in court in Marton and was fined $5000 and had his licence suspended for a year as a result of the accident.
This latest trip to New Zealand has had some good moments for the young German man. He's able to talk about the accident more, and leaves feeling stronger.