Bunnythorpe has lost a "gentle giant" in Shane Foster, who was hit and killed by a car while walking on the highway.
Police were notified of the accident on Rangitikei Line, State Highway 3, between Newbury Line and Hansens Line, about 5.55am yesterday.
Foster, 28, is understood to have been walking on the highway when he was hit by a car.
Injuries from the impact killed Foster, and the male driver of the car was shaken, but uninjured.
Foster's mother, Donna Foster , described him as loving rural life and outdoor activities, particularly hunting and fishing.
"Everyone loved him, he was a big gentle giant. He had a really big heart.
"He was just an all-round cool kid, we're going to miss him so much, it's not going to be easy," she said.
While his parents live in Bunnythorpe, Foster was flatting at the time of his death, and was a linesman for Electrix Ltd.
Donna Foster said she didn't know much about what happened yesterday morning, but she thought he might have "had a few drinks" and been walking to his car, parked in Palmerston North.
His father, Dave Foster, said it was a tragic accident.
His son was "the centre of every party, a laugh a minute", he said.
"He would be the first to take his shirt off his back and help anyone."
A man living near the scene of the crash said he "heard screeching tyres", brakes locking up and "a loud thud," and went to investigate.
The witness, who did not want his name published, assumed an animal had been hit.
"It was not a good scene to wake up to," he said.
Another person, who reached the scene before him, had already called emergency services.
It was not the first crash the man had seen on the stretch of road.
Last year, a van of tourists had taken out part of his front fence and hit a power pole, but were unhurt, he said.
But, there had been a lot of "near misses" and he would like to see the speed limit lowered to 80kmh.
A scene examination was completed yesterday and the road was fully re-opened about 9.30am.
Palmerston North Sergeant Gina Atkinson said police still didn't have all the facts surrounding the incident, and were talking with the driver of the vehicle and witnesses.
Foster's death has been referred to the coroner.
- Manawatu Standard
You you understand STV voting?