Family lose second family member in forestry tragedy

Piri Bartlett, killed in a forestry accident, pictured with fiancee Te Rangimarie Rautjoki, and son Rehua.
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Piri Bartlett, killed in a forestry accident, pictured with fiancee Te Rangimarie Rautjoki, and son Rehua.

An extended East Coast family is reeling after losing a second member to a forestry tragedy within the past year.

Te Oho Mauri Piripi ("Piri") Bartlett, 23, died in a remote forestry area in Tauwhareparae, near Tolaga Bay, north of Gisborne, on Monday.

Bartlett was related to Niko Brooking-Hodgson, 24, a talented rugby player who died in the Pohakura Forest in northern Hawke's Bay a year ago on Tuesday.

Piri Bartlett's cousin, Niko Brooking-Hodgson (pictured centre, with the ball) was also a forestry worker and died the ...
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Piri Bartlett's cousin, Niko Brooking-Hodgson (pictured centre, with the ball) was also a forestry worker and died the job on August 22, 2016.

Willie Waitoa, who was an uncle to both men, said his whanau were in shock after Bartlett's death.

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"It is totally heartbreaking for our family and it's still pretty raw."

Bartlett, originally from Te Araroa at the northern tip of the East Cape, leaves behind a fiancee, Te Rangimarie Rautjoki, and a son, Rehua, who turns one in a few days' time.

Waitoa described Bartlett as "a lovely young fella".

"He was definitely a fella who would give it his all, and was not shy to have a go."

Losing a second young family member to a forestry tragedy within a year added to the whanau's shock.

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Waitoa said forestry was not an industry he personally liked, but he accepted it offered vital employment opportunities.

All steps needed to be taken to make it as safe as possible.

Emergency services were called to the Tauwhareparae area where Bartlett  was working just after 2.30pm on Monday.

Despite their efforts, he died at the scene. 

Police and WorkSafe are investigating the cause of his death.

Brooking-Hodgson, who died on August 22, 2016, was Brooking was a member of the 2014 Gisborne Pirates Rugby Club team which won Poverty Bay's Lee Bros Shield. He also played for the Poverty Bay team.

He went on to make an impression playing in the premier grade for Clive Rugby & Sports Club in the 2016 season when he moved from Gisborne to Hawke's Bay for work.

 - Stuff

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