Tagiilima who is employed as a seasonal worker was in a van with ten other workers that was involved in a collision with a truck near Tarawera.
Tagiilima was expected to return home in Vaimoso.
“The saddest part is, his children was waiting for their dad to be back home soon,” shares Fuatino Mualiagatele Ah Wai, who is a cousin of the deceased’s wife.
“My cousin is struggling to understand what is happening. She is shocked and trying to come to terms with what has happened to her dearest husband.”
NZ Police reported that the 10 Samoans involved in the crash suffered various conditions of injuries ranging from critical to moderate, and are recovering at various hospitals across the country.
St John Hawke’s Bay territory manager Brendon Hutchinson said the injured were transported via helicopter and ambulance to various hospitals – including in the Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Palmerston North and Taupō.
Investigations are continuing into the crash.