Man dies after Waipukurau motorcycle accident

A loving 28-year-old father who fell from his motorcycle in Waipukurau nine days ago has passed away in Wellington Hospital, leaving behind a partner and four children under 7.

Geronimoe Ropiha "loved life" and adored his whanau who were all "shattered" at the tragic, sudden loss.

He had plenty of friends in the Waipukurau community, and was described by his sister, who did not want to be named, as someone who would go out on a limb to help others.

"He would give anyone the shirt off his back, he would do anything for his kids," she said.

"He was fun loving, he was just so cruisy - nothing ever worried him - he loved life."

Mr Ropiha had been riding the bike about 7.55pm on Thursday 24 May when he hit a curb outside The Terrace School on Porangahau Rd, falling on to concrete. It is believed he was not wearing a helmet at the time.

He received serious head injuries and was taken by St John Ambulance to Waipukurau Aerodrome, before being airlifted by Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter to Hawke's Bay Hospital.

Last Saturday he was transferred to Wellington Hospital, where a spokeswoman confirmed he was stable in the intensive care unit, but two days ago his condition deteriorated rapidly. Mr Ropiha passed away on Thursday evening.

"We thought he was on the home straight, so - it's hard," his sister said.

"He was stable up until [Thursday], he was lucid, he had come out of the coma enough to talk a little bit, then he just went downhill very badly."

His whanau were looking on the bright side, treasuring the time they were able to spend by his side in those final days.

"He could have died at the scene, but they got some time to be with him - we were all hoping for a positive outcome."

Extended whanau, friends and supporters travelled to Wellington yesterday, to bring home their, "boy's, boy".

"He liked boys stuff, he was a real boy's boy, even though he was 28 - he was just fun loving."

They planned to take his body home to Waipukurau last night then to Rongomaraeroa Marae in Porangahau, where his whanau comes from.

It was too early to say when the funeral would be held.

The tragic death came just days after Clarence Collier, 40, and Bruce Cardie, 52, were discovered 600m down a bank on Burma Rd, off SH2 near the settlement of Te Hauke.

As of yesterday, the number of road fatalities in New Zealand this year was 98 - 18 of those were people who had been riding motorbikes.

- By Amy Shanks of the Hawke's Bay Today

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