A Te Kuiti kaumatua died after a vehicle accident near Te Kuiti yesterday afternoon.
Roy Ngatai, 76, suffered a fatal heart attack after his 4-wheel-drive rolled down a bank near his rural King Country home at Tomotuki Marae.
The accident was on Mangatea Rd, about 6km from Te Kuiti town centre, where Mr Ngatai lived.
Taupo Youthtown Trust Rescue Helicopter pilot Todd Dunham said Mr Ngatai died while being treated by paramedics from the Te Kuiti and Piopio branches of the St John Ambulance service.
Mr Dunham said it was not clear whether a pre-existing heart condition was responsible for the vehicle rolling.
Mr Johnson was probably the last person to see Mr Ngatai before his accident, but understood his nephew had discovered his truck had rolled.
"We had a cup of tea this afternoon," Mr Johnson said. "We talk to one another quite a lot. He just bought his pup down here for me to have a look at it. He would have been there since 2pm."
Te Kuiti firefighters were also called to the scene shortly after the accident following initial reports that an elderly man had a leg injury after an accident.
Taupo Rescue Helicopter was also called to the scene, but Mr Ngatai died before it arrived, Mr Dunham said.
Firefighters were still at the scene three hours after the accident.
- © Fairfax NZ News