Missing hunter's body found

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 12:06 07/07/2014
Corey Stephens
Nigel Stephens

FAMILY MAN: Corey Stephens, pictured with wife Elie and daughter Koriniti.

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A Hokitika man who died while on a hunting trip was the "proudest father you could ever meet," his family say.

Corey Stephens, 35, went missing while on a week-long solo trip in the Wanganui River catchment near Hari Hari.

His body was found on Saturday afternoon on the river bed after a week of searching.

Nigel Stephens said his older brother had strong Christian morals and was a proud and loving father to 8-month-old Koritini.

He and his wife Elie were active members of several local churches on the West Coast. Both were youth leaders and had a "strong following" throughout Greymouth and Hokitika, Nigel Stephens said.

"He's deeply missed by not only his family but by all of the church community."

Nigel Stephens returned from Australia when he heard that his brother was missing and joined the search party.

Police search and rescue wound down the search last week but Nigel Stephens and two friends continued searching.

"We came across my brother at 3 o'clock on Saturday afternoon," he said. "We have some closure and that's good ... Now we can lay Corey to rest."

Corey Stephens was a "proud son" to parents Glynis and Alastair and was "always the big brother" to Nigel.

The search included helicopters, a white water kayak team, tracking dogs and ground teams.

"Thank you very much to all the searchers and the volunteers for all the efforts they put in," Nigel Stephens said.

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- The Press

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