Wood man dies in crash

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 16:23 24/03/2014
Michael Cambridge
Scott Hammond
Michael Cambridge

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Crash near Rotorua

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Marlborough's staunchest advocate for using wood in buildings has died in a car crash near Rotorua.

Blenheim forester and wood advocate Michael Cambridge was killed on Sunday morning when the car he was driving crashed head-on with another car on State Highway 5 between Taupo and Rotorua.

It is understood he was returning from visiting the Tuhoe building near Ruatoki, thought to be New Zealand's greenest building and made completely of wood.

Bay of Plenty road policing manager Fane Troy said the cause of the crash was still under investigation.

''Police will be looking at the environment, vehicles and drivers to see what factors, if any, they contributed to the crash.''

At the time of the crash the weather and road conditions were fine. 

The Rotorua Serious Crash Unit is investigating the cause of the crash.

Longtime friend and Marlborough Forest Association executive officer Ron Sutherland said Mr Cambridge was one of the top people in New Zealand in terms of advocating for the use of wood.

"He really went out of his way to get himself informed about buildings and wood, not just in New Zealand, but also Europe and China."

Mr Sutherland said people in the industry in Marlborough were in shock. 

"It's a huge loss to the industry here, because he had so much to give."

Prefab NZ chief executive Pamela Bell said Mr Cambridge's death was an absolutely tragic loss of such intense and well-guided passion for innovative timber solutions in New Zealand.

"It is a huge loss for the timber industry to lose a figurehead like this. It is a life cut short, Michael had no signs of slowing down." 

His funeral is at 11.30am on Thursday, at Blenheim's Church of the Nativity in Alfred St.

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- The Marlborough Express

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