2 Feb 2015

Forest workers felling too close

5:30 pm on 2 February 2015

A forestry foreman who felled a tree which killed a 23-year-old worker has told an inquest he wishes he could wind back the clock and change what happened.

Robert Epapara

Robert Epapara Photo: Supplied

Robert Epapara, 23, died after he was crushed by a tree in the Waione Forest, near Rotorua, in March 2013.

Forestry foreman Major Nelson said in a statement at Mr Epapara's inquest that the man was his friend and colleague, and he wished he could turn back time.

The court has been told there safety breaches in the forest that day, including vague communication between workers and no morning safety meeting.

Mr Nelson has already been fined $50,000 thousand for failing to take all practical steps to ensure worker safety.

Earlier, the court was told by experienced forestry worker Nepia Te Rangi a worker had to be two tree lengths away before a tree was cut.

However, Mr Epapara was less than one tree length away from a falling log.

A lawyer assisting the coroner, Fletcher Pilditch, asked Mr Te Rangi why he didn't tell the foreman to stop. Mr Te Rangi didn't answer.