28 Mar 2013

George Taiaroa's family speaks of man who loved life

6:20 pm on 28 March 2013

Family members of the man fatally shot in south Waikato last week have described him as a gentle, loving man who wouldn't hurt anyone.

They say say they are at a loss to find any reason for George Taiaroa's slaying. Police are still searching for his killer.

The 67-year-old was working as a road construction worker when he was shot on 19 March on Tram Road in the Kinleith Forest, near Atiamuri, while directing traffic at a single lane bridge.

At a news conference in Hamilton on Thursday Mr Taiaroa's four children and his wife, who initially asked to be left alone, said he had no enemies.

George Taiaroa's family, from left Chad, Chanel, wife Helen, Rochai and Melanie.

George Taiaroa's family, from left Chad, Chanel, wife Helen, Rochai and Melanie. Photo: RNZ

His wife, Helen, says she is trying hard to understand what happened.

She says her husband was a good man with nothing to hide, and pleaded with media not to look for skeletons.

"He didn't have an enemy. He happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In that area that that happened in is known for drugs but don't you dare say he was a drug lord. But don't start looking for skeletons in the closet, that's not going to help."

Daughter Rochai Taiaroa said her hard-working father was the salt of the earth and and loved life.

"He was a physical man, a man that was incredibly strong. However, he had this tendency to attract people to him. He had this uncanny ability to have people around him."

Ms Taiaroa says her father did not like conflict.

The family say they wish they were able to give the police some sort of lead to help solve the case.

Mrs Taiaroa says the family is desperate for anyone with any information to come forward to help solve her husband's killing.

Police spokesperson Detective Inspector Tim Anderson says people with information who haven't come forward need to be brave and have a back bone.

A search is also underway across the North Island for a blue Jeep Cherokee, the vehicle at the centre of the inquiry