Hamilton crash victim a cycle safety campaigner

The cyclist killed after being hit by a courier van early Monday was an active cycling safety campaigner who arrived at work "lit up like a Christmas tree".

Mum-of-three Margaret Mary Pouw, known as Maggie, biked to a Hamilton rest home for work every day and encouraged colleagues and residents to join cycling and fitness challenges.

Last night the 53-year-old's family were stunned by her sudden death, just 1km from home.

Her partner Joe Waas, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Waikato, was too upset to speak.

But daughter Hanna Pouw Waas, 23, paid tribute to her "very safety conscious" mum who would be "incredibly missed".

"She was a loving and caring woman ... willing to help anyone at any time."

Mrs Pouw was born in Ontario, Canada, and had been married to Dr Waas for more than 30 years. The couple had lived in New Zealand for more than 20 years, and have three children, Jesse, 29, Jake, 26, and Hanna.

Jesse Pouw Waas said his mother had a positive life outlook, and was "an amazing woman with a huge heart".

"She was cheerful and loving and loved by many," he said.

Her "eyes would light up" at the thought of going for a hike or run, and she loved encouraging family and friends to take part.

She was passionate about cycling safety, and always wore a helmet and used a light and other accessories, he said.

Jesse said he was particularly saddened his mother wouldn't be at his wedding in France in September: "I know she had lots of romantic notions about things like sharing a mother-son dance."

Her funeral would be held in Canada.

Mrs Pouw was a caregiver at Atawhai Assisi Home and Hospital, just outside Hamilton. Chief executive Judy Hindrup said Mrs Pouw would be hugely missed by residents and staff alike.

"She was a beautiful, fabulous person. One of those people who jollied everyone alone," Ms Hindrup said.

Mrs Pouw would arrive at work on dark, winter mornings "lit up like a Christmas tree", she said.

"The irony of this was she was an avid safety advocate."

Mrs Pouw, who'd worked at the rest home for 10 years, even started launched an annual Tour de St Francis of Assisi event where staff cycled around the grounds.

"We'd done it every year since around 2007 and the residents would be pushed in wheelchairs or helped with their walkers and round and round we'd go around the grounds, it was great," Ms Hindrup said.

She vowed to keep the event going in Mrs Pouw's name.

The Courier Post driver, in his 30s, told the Herald yesterday that he didn't have time to brake.

He had been travelling along Morrinsville Rd in Hamilton about 6.30am when his van and Ms Pouw collided at the intersection of Morrinsville Rd and Matangi Rd.

Waikato District road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said the crash was still under investigation and the cause yet to be confirmed.

She said speed and alcohol did not to appear to have been factors in the accident. The driver was shaken but unhurt.

- By Kurt Bayer of APNZ

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