At approximately 2.45am police received a report of two motorbikes stolen from a property in Kawerau.
Officers were in the area investigating this burglary and carrying out searches on foot in a forestry area. One officer returned to his vehicle to carry out road patrols and a short time later came across a crash that had just occurred on River Road. This was approximately 3.40am.
One of the motorbikes, believed to have been stolen in the burglary, has been in collision with a 4WD vehicle on River Road. Two men aged 24 and 17 were on that bike. The 24-year-old man died at the scene. The 17-year-old is in hospital with serious injuries. Police are still working to establish which man was the rider and which was the pillion passenger. The driver and passenger is the 4WD were not injured.
A serious crash investigation is currently underway.
No further information about the man who died will be released until all next of kin have been advised.
The road has now reopened.
A second motorbike believed to have been stolen in the same burglary has now been located in Kawerau.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Whakatane Police on 07 308 5255. Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 027 234 8256.