The body of Port Auckland stevedore Atyroa Jr. Tuaichi, who died on April 19 from a fall, next to his father Atyroa Sr. Tuaichi. The couple father and son worked together at the port. Video / Ngati Nichols
The father of the 26-year-old loader, who died yesterday in the ports of Auckland, was working on the scene with his son at the time of the accident.
Footage of Atyroa Sr. Tuaiti crying over the body of his son Atyroa Jr. Tuaiti as he is loaded into a transport van in the Auckland Port Yard (POAL) has surfaced online.
The Herald has received permission to use footage of Atyroa’s younger cousin Tuaiti, Ngati Nichols, who posted on Facebook a 12-minute video of scenes from the POAL yard.
Atyroa Jr. Tuaiti died yesterday shortly after 9 a.m. after “falling from a height” while working for Wallace Investments.
Atyroa Jr. Tuaichi and his father were working at the port that morning, however it is known that Atyroa Jr. Tuaichi was not in close proximity to his son when he fell and was not a witness to this.
The gloomy footage from the port shows a hack performed by colleagues of Atyroa Jr. Tuaiti under heavy rain surrounded by containers.
The father strokes the covered body of Atyroa Jr. Tuaiti when he is about to be loaded into a van for transportation.
Nichols also worked at POAL at the time and confirmed that there is a father and son in the footage.
“Atyroa is my cousin and we grew up together since childhood, I am the tallest person next to his father,” Nichols said.
The slain POAL worker has been identified as the new dad
The death of Otari resident Atyroa Tuaichi is the fourth since 2017 involving port workers.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff called Tuaiti’s death a tragedy, just 12 months after an independent review by POAL found systemic health and safety issues at the municipality-owned enterprise.
Then Port Executive Director Tony Gibson resigned a month later, in May 2021, after intense media scrutiny and union pressure to vacate the post.
Tuaich grew up on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, but as a teenager moved to South Auckland and attended Mt Roskill Grammar. It is clear that he worked in the port for several years.
The 26-year-old boy gave birth to his first son in October last year, and relatives told the Herald about their grief over his completely “heartbroken” partner Kura.
“He is [Tuaiti] was a really good loving son, brother, cousin, uncle to many families – not forgetting a father for his beautiful son and his beautiful partner, ”said one Herald relative.
A Wallace Investments spokesman confirmed he would investigate the death, and vowed to “cooperate fully” with the Maritime NZ investigation.
“The company and staff are devastated, and our immediate thoughts are about the family and friends of the deceased,” said Wallace Investments general manager Felix van Alst.
National Secretary of the Maritime Union of New Zealand Craig Harrison has called for a national port security investigation.
The union realized that Tuaiti had died while working on the container ship Capitaine Tasman, which holds the Singaporean flag.
“If you look at our industry and look around the country, you’ll see that there have been a lot of deaths and serious injuries over the last few years,” Harrison said.
“And it’s not a big industry. It’s not that size of construction or anywhere near it. However, we have a lot of weight in serious injuries and deaths. I think it’s a good time to look at our industry and see if it meets the goals. “
Harrison said the wet conditions Tuesday morning at the port were not familiar to stevedores, and he could not speculate on the immediate cause of the crash.
“In the winter it rains and they work seven days a week to wind about 40 knots. So that may contribute to that, but working in such weather is unusual,” he said.
“It’s hard to really put on a button when there was a ‘culture of harnessing’ or something like that. I know it’s a dangerous environment and people are working at heights. So if there was a misconception or something like that, I’m not too sure.”
However, Harrison defended the role of POAL in the death on Tuesday, clarifying that Wallace Investments stevedores were not POAL employees.
“There was nothing in the direct control of POAL that could affect that,” Harrison said.
Former union leader Shane Tae Pou said his name in a letter calling for Gibson’s resignation last April, which was also signed by a member of the Statutory Council of the Independent Maori Council Tau Henare and Auckland Council member Ephesus Collins.
Tae Pou said the latest death came amid ongoing labor market “deregulation”.
“In New Zealand, there is a weakening of health and safety at work. [They’re] high-risk ports and marinas, and I think the union is right. We need to conduct a nationwide audit, a nationwide review. One death – one death is too much.
Tae Pou said new POAL CEO Roger Gray has been trying to forge closer relationships with workers since he took office in December. However, Gray was in that position just weeks after taking over as CEO on April 4.
“The new CEO, as I understand it, has become very engaged with the staff, so he will be devastated. [staff] will be devastated. But I think the relationship is better than that of the last CEO, ”Tae Pou said.
Tuaiti’s death adds a number of tragedies and serious injuries to POAL in recent years.
In August 2020, the father of seven children Palam Calatti, 31, a stevedore, was killed by a container on a ship at the Ferguson container terminal.
In 2018, 23-year-old Labum Midnight Dyer died after an overturned truck he was driving.
In July 2020, POAL was fined $ 242,000 for failing to perform health and safety duties after a pilot boat accidentally knocked down and killed ocean swimmer Leslie Gelberger in 2017.
Gelberger’s widow Laura McLeod welcomed the POAL safety review when it was published last March.
“The fact that there were two more deaths after my husband’s death, which in itself was a product of a culture that prioritizes productivity over well-being, is heartbreaking,” McLeod said at the time.
“How many deaths does it take for them to specifically change their path and, as recommended, prefer security over profit?”