Te Papa offers to help with funeral
Plans for Te Papa chief executive Seddon Bennington's funeral will be made after his two sons arrive in New Zealand today.
Dr Bennington, 61, and his tramping companion Marcella Jackson, 54, died on an exposed part of the Tararua Range during a weekend tramp from Otaki Forks to Kime Hut. Their bodies were recovered on Wednesday.
Police said yesterday the pair were not carrying a cellphone or locator beacon, but were otherwise well-equipped. They may have been caught out by a southerly that swept through on Saturday night.
Dr Bennington's wife, Frances, who was separated from him, said adult sons Emile and Marcel would arrive in Wellington today from Australia. The family would then begin funeral arrangements.
A Te Papa spokeswoman said the museum had some "tentative ideas" for a memorial service, but wanted to let Dr Bennington's family consider them before any decisions were made. Its marae would be available if the family wanted.
A condolence book at Te Papa was half full an hour after it was put out yesterday afternoon and more tributes had been posted on the museum's website.
Marcella Jackson's family and friends paid tribute to the gentle, "very private" woman known to her family as Rosie.
A statement from sister-in-law Jan Morgans and other family said she loved nature, spending much of her free time gardening and walking.
"She had taken up tramping again in the last year or so [and] was really looking forward to her tramp in the Tararuas."
She was quiet and self-effacing but had "a huge network of friends".
Mrs Jackson's colleagues at Aotea Pathology spoke yesterday of her caring nature.
"She was very kind and thoughtful one of those people that always thought about others," Kim Allan, who trained with Mrs Jackson at Wellington Hospital, said.
Colleague Alison Sinclair said Mrs Jackson loved good food and went whitebaiting on the West Coast each year, sometimes organising leave at a day's notice when she heard the season had begun.
Mrs Jackson's family thanked searchers for their "tremendous effort" in hazardous conditions.
The Dominion Post