Friends pay respects to 'warm, gentle soul' who died in fire
'Warm, gentle soul' died in the fireANNA WILLIAMS
Friends and loved ones of the 28-year-old man who died in a fire near Kaikoura at the weekend say he was a gentle soul who went with the flow.
Police yesterday named the victim as Adam Toleman, whose burnt-out van was discovered in Kiwi Rd, at Mangamauna north of Kaikoura, by a member of the public on Monday morning.
A group of his friends was among those who gathered at the site yesterday afternoon. It was the sort of warm, sunny day a surfer would enjoy, although the sea was relatively calm as some of his friends threw flowers into the water.
They were there for a ceremony to bless the land where Mr Toleman died. The ceremony was organised by iwi from the nearby Mangamaunu Marae, owner of the land in Kiwa Rd where the van was found.
Kiwa Rd is frequently used by freedom campers and the road also provides access to a popular surfing spot known as the Meatworks.
The group of about 30 people also included Mangamaunu Marae members, and police from Kaikoura and Blenheim who had investigated the death.
Marae chairman Darran Kerei-Keepa said the ceremony lifted the tapu on the land.
An army crew packed up the tents used by police on the site during the investigation and the burnt-out van was taken away on a truck.
Robyn Cameron, a friend of Mr Toleman's since he moved to Kaikoura about four years ago, said he had many friends in Kaikoura.
He had lived in her caravan for almost a year at one stage.
“He was such a warm, gentle soul, never negative about anybody. He would just go with the flow," she said.
“He loved surfing, loved nature, just loved it up at the beach."
Mr Toleman's body was taken to Christchurch on Tuesday for an autopsy and his identity was released by police about the time of the ceremony at 3pm yesterday.
Police said in a statement the fire that caused his death appeared to have been accidental and the autopsy indicated there were no suspicious circumstances.
Detective Inspector Geoff Jago, who headed the inquiry into the fire, said it appeared Mr Toleman had been camping in his van alone in Kiwa Rd for a few days.
Mr Toleman was originally from Britain but had New Zealand residency and had been living in Kaikoura for about four years.
His next of kin had been advised although formal identification was difficult because of the intensity of the fire, Mr Jago said.
It is believed Mr Toleman's mother lives in New Zealand.
- The Marlborough Express