The crashed rental vehicle a 29-year-old American visitor was found dead in on Shooting Butts Rd, rural Martinborough.
The crashed rental vehicle a 29-year-old American visitor was found dead in on Shooting Butts Rd, rural Martinborough. Wairarapa Times-Age

Man found dead was on his honeymoon

AN American found dead in his rental car in rural Martinborough yesterday was on his honeymoon.

The 29-year-old and his wife had been staying in the town, but the man had been reported missing to police that morning.

His wrecked rental vehicle was discovered nose-first in a ditch on Shooting Butts Rd just after 7am by a passing member of the public.

It is unclear what time the crash happened.

A 2km stretch of the road was cordoned off until mid-morning while the Serious Crash Unit examined the scene.

The cause of the crash is still being determined and the man's name will not be made public until his family have been notified.

The man's wife is being supported by Victim Support in Wellington.

A woman who lives in a property close to the crash scene said the gravel road was dangerous and narrow.

Emergency services were called when a passing motorist discovered the Jucy rentals Toyota Estima just after 7am.

Wairarapa Police Area Commander Donna Howard said the man was visiting New Zealand with his wife.

Howard said the crash involved just one vehicle and the man was dead when emergency services arrived. His wife was not with him.

At the crash site there were paint dots marking the tyre tracks of the rental which appears to have veered to the right, up onto a grass berm and crashed into the drain culvert, about half way along the road.

The owner of a Shooting Butts Rd property, near the crash scene, said her husband had got up at about 3am to make a cup of tea.

"When he came back to bed he said 'what's that funny noise - is it rain?'," said the woman, who did not want to be named.

"Now I'm thinking perhaps it was the horn of the vehicle going."

The woman said she could see fire crews from her house.

Her teenage granddaughter said she and her grandfather went to check on the sheep and saw the crashed vehicle up close.

"It was nose down, it had fallen into a ditch and it was pointing straight up."

The woman said the rural road was dangerous and narrow.

"It's really only a one- way road. There's pot holes and a twist in it, and at the edge of it they have dug a channel for drainage.

"When there's long grass there of course you can't see it. We know it's there but anybody not familiar with it wouldn't.

"It's very sad," she said.

A spokesperson from the American Embassy in Wellington said they were working with the man's family and doing "everything we can to help them".

"The local authorities have been really helpful and we are deeply grateful for their support."

South Wairarapa District Council infrastructure and services manager Mark Allingham said the road was commonly used by locals as a shortcut to Martinborough from Tuturumuri.

This was the first crash on the road that he was aware of.

"The speed limit is 100kmh but that's not really suitable," he said.

"People try and drive on dirt roads the same as they would on a sealed road but they need to drive to the conditions."

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