BMX figure killed in Whatawhata crash

BMX figure killed in Whatawhata crash

Darren Merito, 49, of Raglan, will be a huge loss to the sport, according to the national body.

Merito died in a crash on State Highway 23, west of Hamilton, on Thursday. 

Emergency services were called to the collision between a Waikato Ready Mix Concrete truck and a ute about 3pm.

Rangi, as Darren was known, will be sorely missed by the Te Awamutu BMX Club he was a member of for about 16 years.

“This has really, really rocked the BMX community in New Zealand,” spokesperson Malcolm McOnie said.

“The hole he’s going to leave in our club at Te Awamutu… I don’t know if we’ll ever fill that.”

Merito filled many roles in the club – a father, mentor, coach and helper.

“He always had a laugh, a smile, a nice comment. He was never too busy to stop and say hello, and that was to everyone. It didn’t matter if you were the best or you were Joe Bloggs average.”

Merito had four sons and three of them had already represented New Zealand in BMX, McOnie said.

His world revolved around his family, the members of which were involved in the club and had spent countless hours helping build a new track at Castleton Park in Te Awamutu.

But the boys were regular riders at other clubs around the region and Merito was also known in Australian BMX circles.

“He was a personality, a real colourful character,” McOnie said.

“Everyone’s shattered.”

BMX NZ was also mourning the loss of “a much loved and knowledgeable character”.

Rangi, was “a much loved and knowledgeable character” in the Kiwi BMX community, said BMX NZ executive officer Dion Earnest.

“Rangi will be a huge loss to the sport,” he said, speaking on behalf of the organisation.

“He, his wife, Lisa, and four boys are a huge part of our sport. Rangi has just recently returned from the UCI BMX World Championships in Colombia, where he was a support manager for the NZ Challenge Class team and his son Cooper rode to a world number three ranking in his age group.”


Cooper Merito and Rangi Merito contemplating Mighty 11 racing
Cooper Merito and Rangi Merito discuss Mighty 11 racing

The Pukekohe-based Sunset Coast BMX Club posted an online tribute to Merito, describing him as a true good guy.

“Many great times and laughs have been shared trackside with Rangi and his family over the years and he will be missed by us all trackside,” the post read.

Other posts called him one of the best things to come out of BMX and a great character of the sport.




  1. My deepest condolences to the Merito family and friends, A true gentleman of BMX in New Zeland. Was the first parent to congratulate me on our win against NZ at Gisbourne Mighty 11’s in 2008.
    RIP Rangi

  2. I knew him back in the day of 14 15 years old along with darren johnson he was a free spirited fun guy who enjoyed life my god I’m so so sori for thle whole family

  3. RANGI u were definatley one of the most amazing people i hsve ever meet… you have touched so many people hearts in a way you probibly never knew….
    The enormous hole in our hearts that you have left, is absolutely devastateing… and trying to continue with the thought we will never see your happy, smiling , face again brings tears to my eyes at just that thought..
    Life is simply unfair but to take such a humbel, proud, supportive person (not only to your own kids but many others) is simply unfair … your dedication to lisa and the boys (YOUR FAMILY) WAS IMPECABLE if only there were more Dads out there like you…
    Why it was your time we will never no.
    You most definately had a adveturous fun filled life….
    Your legacy will continue with each of your boys and with each of them having 1 of your traits….
    But sadly for them lisa and all of us we now have to continue this story without you and that just seems wrong….
    I have spent so many of the good times with you i will carry them invthe piece of my heart that will never mend..
    Till we meet again RIP WE Love u AND continue on as best we csn..
    Watch over us all and keep us safe…

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