Happy, talented sportsman, 24, mourned

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2013
Michael Mouti Taylor
LOVED: Michael Mouti Taylor, 24, was killed in a car crash near Eltham on Monday night while he was driving back from Otago for the holidays.

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A New Plymouth family and the city's sporting community have lost an energetic young sportsman who was killed as he drove home for the university holidays.

Michael Mouti Taylor, 24, died in a two-car crash on State Highway 3 between Normanby and Eltham on Monday night.

He had driven up from Dunedin for the University of Otago holidays when the crash happened on wet roads just half an hour from home.

Adrian Taylor said he had only positive memories of his son.

"He was a great sportsman, a positive friend and he worked really hard. He was a good son. We all loved him."

Michael was involved in surf life saving through East End Surf Club, had played inline hockey and basketball at a national level and worked as a swimming coach.

He was in his final year of physiotherapy at the University of Otago and had completed a Bachelor of Physical Education.

Mother Sue Darney said her son always had time for others, regardless of how busy he was.

"He was so happy and full of energy and never sat still."

She said he loved the uni life and helped out as a sports medic in the weekends.

"He helped everybody."

He had been involved with the Highlands Swimming Club for many years where he started out learning to swim, became a competitive swimmer and then was a coach after school and during his university holidays.

Club secretary Denyse Salisbury passed on the club's sincere condolences to the family, who had been involved with the club for years.

Michael was driving with one other passenger, Sean Mooney, 21, who suffered facial and back injuries.

The two vehicles are believed to have collided head-on in wet conditions just before 6pm on Monday.

Michael died at the scene and a 46-year-old man was trapped in the other vehicle for more than an hour.

Friends and family are invited to attend a celebration of Michael's life to be held at Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary on Friday, June 21, at 11.30am.

In lieu of flowers a donation may be left at the service for Taranaki Surf Life Saving.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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