Gisborne man killed in Opotiki crash

‘Awesome dad, awesome husband, top all-round bloke’

‘Awesome dad, awesome husband, top all-round bloke’

TRAGEDY: Gisborne man Wayne Holmberg with the 1963 Chevy Nova he restored and was driving in with his wife and daughter when he was killed in a crash on Saturday afternoon in Opotiki. The 55-year-old was the owner of Bear’s Signs and has been described as “incredibly artistic” and “a top bloke” who will be missed terribly. File picture by Liam Clayton

The hot rod fraternity in Gisborne is mourning a “top bloke” and “artist” after Wayne Holmberg was killed in a crash in Opotiki on Saturday afternoon.

Carl Wayne Holmberg, a well-known and popular Gisborne man, was 55.

He was driving his 1963 Chevy Nova with wife Sue, 54, and daughter Charley, 14, passengers.

They were on their way to Ohope.

A car being driven in the opposite direction was allegedly on the wrong side of the road and speeding near the Waioeka River Bridge in Opotiki township.

It was a 45kmh zone.

Emergency services were called to the two-car crash at 2.55pm on Saturday. Two helicopters were also dispatched.

Police said Mr Holmberg died at the scene of the crash.

Mrs Holmberg and Charley were taken by helicopter to Tauranga Hospital.

Mrs Holmberg was transferred to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland. A hospital spokeswoman this morning said she was in a stable condition.

Charley was treated and discharged from Tauranga Hospital and is in Auckland with her mother and close friends from Gisborne.

Family spokesman Kevin Birtwistle, a close friend of Mr Holmberg, said the hot rod fraternity would miss him terribly.

Mr Birtwistle was travelling in the car behind the family when it happened.

“He was an awesome dad, an awesome husband and an all-round top bloke,” said Mr Birtwistle.

“His artistic ability was incredible.”

Mr Holmberg owned Bear’s Signs, which he started in 1985.

He has been described as very clever, with a passion for hot rodding.

Mr Holmberg was also a life member of the Surf City Rod and Custom Club, which he had been part of for around 37 years, holding positions as committee member, treasurer and president during that time.

He also worked at Martin’s Hire Centre many years ago.

The driver of the other car was taken to Tauranga Hospital in a moderate condition.

State Highway 2 near Waioeka River Bridge was reopened at about 7pm.

Police have a serious crash investigation under way.

The hot rod fraternity in Gisborne is mourning a “top bloke” and “artist” after Wayne Holmberg was killed in a crash in Opotiki on Saturday afternoon.

Carl Wayne Holmberg, a well-known and popular Gisborne man, was 55.

He was driving his 1963 Chevy Nova with wife Sue, 54, and daughter Charley, 14, passengers.

They were on their way to Ohope.

A car being driven in the opposite direction was allegedly on the wrong side of the road and speeding near the Waioeka River Bridge in Opotiki township.

It was a 45kmh zone.

Emergency services were called to the two-car crash at 2.55pm on Saturday. Two helicopters were also dispatched.

Police said Mr Holmberg died at the scene of the crash.

Mrs Holmberg and Charley were taken by helicopter to Tauranga Hospital.

Mrs Holmberg was transferred to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland. A hospital spokeswoman this morning said she was in a stable condition.

Charley was treated and discharged from Tauranga Hospital and is in Auckland with her mother and close friends from Gisborne.

Family spokesman Kevin Birtwistle, a close friend of Mr Holmberg, said the hot rod fraternity would miss him terribly.

Mr Birtwistle was travelling in the car behind the family when it happened.

“He was an awesome dad, an awesome husband and an all-round top bloke,” said Mr Birtwistle.

“His artistic ability was incredible.”

Mr Holmberg owned Bear’s Signs, which he started in 1985.

He has been described as very clever, with a passion for hot rodding.

Mr Holmberg was also a life member of the Surf City Rod and Custom Club, which he had been part of for around 37 years, holding positions as committee member, treasurer and president during that time.

He also worked at Martin’s Hire Centre many years ago.

The driver of the other car was taken to Tauranga Hospital in a moderate condition.

State Highway 2 near Waioeka River Bridge was reopened at about 7pm.

Police have a serious crash investigation under way.

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John Cranwell, Quezon City Philippines - 2 months ago
I am extremely sorry to hear of Wayne's demise. I offer my condolences to his family and yes, he was a really nice guy for sure and very easy to get on with. A really great signwriter too. Yes, he will be missed. May God's peace, grace, mercy, blessings and love be with his family always.

Patricia May Walsh - 2 months ago
Extreme sadness and shock at the senseless loss of Carl. Love and light to Sue and Charley. Wishing you a speedy recovery and blessing to all whanau who are grieving in Gtown for this whanau.

Mcxevior Mika - 2 months ago
We have been robbed of a loving man, it's so hard to take it. "Legend" always had a laugh with anyone. My sincere condolences to the family, and I wish a speedy recovery to his wife. May your soul rest easy brother.

Zaden Akena - 2 months ago
I am extremely sorry to hear of Wayne's demise. I send my love and help towards his family and those who cared about him. Yes, he was a really nice guy who cared about his wife Sue and daughter Charley and his friends. A man who always watched where he was going. It's not fair that he and his family have been the ones who are seriously hurt when there are bad people who should be hurt for what they do. His family don't deserve this pain and grief.
To all his family members, everyone is here and praying for you. Wayne was nice, caring, loving, lovely, handsome, and always cared about everyone. May God's peace, grace, blessings, love and mercy be with his family always. God bless you all xo We are here for you. Take care xo

C - 2 months ago
I'm so very sorry for the community, all prayers for family and friends.

Patrick Burke, Cincinnati - 2 months ago
I went to school with Wayne, hung out for a number of years in our teens. He was a great guy and so talented. A very sad day.

Sophie Wilson Kahika, Opotiki - 2 months ago
It's some kind of coincidence when you get a callout job, and you are the third car from this incident - rung for back-up for road patrol on the bridge.
I'm glad my hubby held your head till the ambo guys arrived, I'm glad my hubby was there when you were still in this world - it's an experience he will never forget. He stayed with your family till they left with the ambulance. I feel for your family deeply because you're not going to be there when you're needed the most. Hugs

Lianne, Opotiki - 2 months ago
This is a bad corner - more people will die if something is not done. There is not one Opotiki resident who hasn't had a near-miss on that corner.
Very sad. My thoughts are with his wife and daughter at this time - not even able to be by her husband. May she heal well and fast. Big love . . .

Meng Foon - 2 months ago
Whanau, our love goes out to you all. Thanks for doing up the signs at Bargain Veges back in those days when we were at the vege mart at Midway. You were an awesome community person.
Meng, Ying and Family

Tina - 2 months ago
So sad to hear, may you rest easy and may our heavenly father, and all those around, comfort your whanau at this sad time.