Farmer’s death a mystery

Police appeal for witnesses to Whakarau Rd fatality.

Police appeal for witnesses to Whakarau Rd fatality.

The death of a farmer found on a remote road near Gisborne earlier this month remains unexplained.

The body of 59-year-old Michael Joseph Gebert was found on Whakarau Road near Otoko, 50 kilometres northwest of Gisborne, early on the morning of Saturday, June 1.

A police spokesman told Stuff.co.nz police were still investigating his death, which is being treated as unexplained.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kevin Ford said inquiries were ongoing.

Gebert lived in the area close to where he was found and had visited a nearby house on the Friday night before his body was found, Det Sr Sgt Ford said.

A postmortem determined there was no evidence of a physical assault or altercation in the lead-up to his death, however, the pathologist was yet to formally report on the matter.

Police are looking for witnesses, particularly anybody who travelled on Whakarau Road between the remote settlements of Te Karaka and Motu between 9pm on May 31 and 6am on June 1.

Stuff reported police did not answer questions about who found him, or exactly where on the road he was located.

It is understood Mr Gebert was a married farmer, father and grandfather.

It is not the first time the Gebert family has suffered such upheaval.

In March last year, a house fire incinerated the home of Clint Gebert, Michael’s son, who lived in Opotiki.

A now-closed Givealittle page to support Clint and wife Melissa said the couple and their four children were “asleep in bed” when they realised they had moments to evacuate.

The page said the family lost everything. Their home was a structure full of ash and they had nothing left to call their own.

The page raised more than $8000.

Michael and wife Tracy Gebert used to own the flagship Hardrive Cafe in Matawai.

It doubled as a part-time grocery store and post office, offering various household supplies.

The cafe was about a 50-minute drive from the couple’s residential address on Whakarau Road.

Bayleys real estate agent Colin McNab told Stuff the cafe was conditionally sold after being put on the market last year.

The pair intended to close it by Christmas, until new owners approached them to buy it.

The business had since been rebranded.

  • Anybody with information should contact Detective Crosby on 06 869 0200 or Crimestopper anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The death of a farmer found on a remote road near Gisborne earlier this month remains unexplained.

The body of 59-year-old Michael Joseph Gebert was found on Whakarau Road near Otoko, 50 kilometres northwest of Gisborne, early on the morning of Saturday, June 1.

A police spokesman told Stuff.co.nz police were still investigating his death, which is being treated as unexplained.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kevin Ford said inquiries were ongoing.

Gebert lived in the area close to where he was found and had visited a nearby house on the Friday night before his body was found, Det Sr Sgt Ford said.

A postmortem determined there was no evidence of a physical assault or altercation in the lead-up to his death, however, the pathologist was yet to formally report on the matter.

Police are looking for witnesses, particularly anybody who travelled on Whakarau Road between the remote settlements of Te Karaka and Motu between 9pm on May 31 and 6am on June 1.

Stuff reported police did not answer questions about who found him, or exactly where on the road he was located.

It is understood Mr Gebert was a married farmer, father and grandfather.

It is not the first time the Gebert family has suffered such upheaval.

In March last year, a house fire incinerated the home of Clint Gebert, Michael’s son, who lived in Opotiki.

A now-closed Givealittle page to support Clint and wife Melissa said the couple and their four children were “asleep in bed” when they realised they had moments to evacuate.

The page said the family lost everything. Their home was a structure full of ash and they had nothing left to call their own.

The page raised more than $8000.

Michael and wife Tracy Gebert used to own the flagship Hardrive Cafe in Matawai.

It doubled as a part-time grocery store and post office, offering various household supplies.

The cafe was about a 50-minute drive from the couple’s residential address on Whakarau Road.

Bayleys real estate agent Colin McNab told Stuff the cafe was conditionally sold after being put on the market last year.

The pair intended to close it by Christmas, until new owners approached them to buy it.

The business had since been rebranded.

  • Anybody with information should contact Detective Crosby on 06 869 0200 or Crimestopper anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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