Family pay tribute to adventure-loving son Ben Gourdie who died in West Coast river

Christchurch man Ben Gourdie in hot pools the day before he died after being swept away by the Taipo River on the West Coast.
SUPPLIED

Christchurch man Ben Gourdie in hot pools the day before he died after being swept away by the Taipo River on the West Coast.

A man who died after being swept away by a West Coast river loved mountains and dreamt of working in tourism. 

Christchurch's Ben Gourdie, 29, was relaxing with friends in hot pools about 9pm on Saturday when he went into the Taipo River, near Jacksons in the Grey district, to cool off.

Robin Gourdie said his son was doing "exactly what he loved with his very best mates" when he died. 

Gourdie's body was found about 1 kilometre downstream in the Taipo River.
GOOGLE MAPS

Gourdie's body was found about 1 kilometre downstream in the Taipo River.

he group had walked up the Taipo gorge on Friday and were staying in Julia Hut.

READ MORE: Christchurch man Ben Gourdie dies after being swept away by fast-flowing West Coast river

"They'd dug a hole and got themselves into the hot pools beside the river. There was a big rock they were holding onto and lowering themselves into the river to cool off. They were all doing it, but Ben lost his grip. It's a fast-flowing river," Robin Gourdie said.

Gourdie had been swimming in hot pools when he went into the nearby Taipo River to cool off.
GOOGLE MAPS

Gourdie had been swimming in hot pools when he went into the nearby Taipo River to cool off.

"His friends chased off down the river after him, but couldn't see him. He's gone into the gorge and they couldn't risk getting into the river themselves."

The group activated a personal locator beacon and the rescue helicopter arrived about 11pm. They found Gourdie's body about 1 kilometre downstream in a gorge, which was retrieved the next morning.

"They were having fun, having a ball and probably a bit of alcohol was involved," Robin Gourdie said.

"He'd had a motorcycle accident six years ago and had problems with his shoulder so possibly that added to the problem."

Ad Feedback

Alex Gourdie said his brother grew up as part of a big family in Timaru and Ashburton. 

"He was always off on an adventure looking forward to his next trip up the mountains. He had an endless amount of energy. He was always bouncing around, lightening up people's moods," he said. 

"He had a really good circle of friends in Christchurch … He wanted people around him that shared his morals and views on life and forced negativity out of his life," Alex Gourdie said. 

The brothers had last seen each other at Christmas in Timaru, but regularly spoke by phone. 

"He called me two days before his trip and he was telling me about his plans. He was so excited about it. I was supposed to be staying with him in Christchurch the day after I got the call [to say he had died].

"He was with four of his best friends. They were doing everything as safely as possible. It was just a tragic accident. There was nothing anyone could have done."  

Robin Gourdie said his son had dreamt of working in adventure tourism. 

"He had been working on a farm for a friend of mine, but that had finished up and he was moving onto the next step. He was going for his passenger's driver's licence and first aid certificate to get into driving tourist buses.

"I talked to him last Thursday and he was telling me about his plans. He loved the mountains. He was an adrenaline junkie. He loved it."

Ben Gourdie's funeral will be in Timaru on Saturday morning.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Turning a negative into a positive

Fixing a customer's negative experience can quickly transform a critic into a fan.

Businesses can turn disgruntled customers into happy ones by fixing problems and listening to feedback, says Erin Reilly.

Labour MPs 'optimistic'

Recently reelected Mangere MP, Aupito William Sio.

Two of Labour's recently elected MPs are optimistic about their chances of forming the next Government.

Labour sweep south Auckland

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern campaigning at the Otara markets with Jenny Salesa, who won her seat by 10,035 votes.

Despite National's strong showing across the country, it was another Labour-landslide in South Auckland.

Auckland train delays expected

Trains in and out of Britomart were down to operating on a single train line on Sunday night.

Train line between Newmarket and Britomart the only one operating.

Wellington

Defiant Wellington turns redder

24092017 Photo: ROSS GIBLIN\STUFF   
Greg O'Connor, left and Paul Eagle have both been elected to Parliament under the ...

Capital's new MPs celebrate, as the party vote swings Labour's way too.

Cyclist dies in crash

The Westpac rescue helicopter was sent out to the scene

An investigation is underway after a cyclist was killed on a Wairarapa road.

Back to the polls, again

Here we go again ... Wellington hasn't seen the last of election billboards with a by-election scheduled for the end of ...

Wins for Paul Eagle and Lawrence Yule trigger by-elections in capital and Hastings.

Lower Hutt's 3-for-1 deal

Raeburn celebrates Bishop's victory at his electorate party in Petone on Saturday night.

Chris Bishop won Hutt South, but Ginny Andersen and Trevor Mallard are in too.

Canterbury

Labour's Christchurch renaissance

Labour's victorious Christchurch Central candidate Duncan Webb shares a moment with Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson on election ...

The result might not show it, but beneath the surface a red tide is rising in Christchurch.

Canty's returning MPs

Labour's Poto Williams increased her electorate and party vote in Christchurch East.

Housing, health, water and roads drive votes for Canterbury MPs.

Manji mulls second Beehive bid

Christchurch city councillor Raf Manji hasn't ruled out another tilt at government despite losing the Ilam contest this ...

Christchurch City councillor beaten by 7000 votes, but political fire still burns.

Push for more central city housing

Labour's victorious Christchurch Central candidate Duncan Webb shares a moment with Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson at the ...

Christchurch Central's new MP wants to take back control from the Government.

Waikato

Mahuta romps home

Nanaia Mahuta took at swipe at the Maori Party after she crushed her opponent in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.

Māori Party no competition for Labour's Nanaia Mahuta in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.

Hamilton backs blue video

Hamilton East National MP David Bennett receives congratulations from Hamilton East Labour candidate Jamie Strange after ...

It's a clean sweep for National in Hamilton, with David Bennett and Tim Macindoe fending off two Labour rookies.

A timely drop in Waikato's 'ocean'

Eliza Webster, who commutes twice weekly to Auckland for university, is counting on a commuter rail between Auckland, ...

National's spending promises are timely for the growing Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

First-time MP romps in

Tim van de Molen says he is more than up to the challenges ahead of him.

National Waikato candidate Tim van de Molen won the Waikato seat with ease.

Taranaki

Gentlemen's ride for charity video

24092017 News GRANT MATTHEW/STUFF

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride for New Plymouth, a charity ride to raise money ...

More than 40 distinguished gentlemen (and ladies) rode their bikes to raise money for charity.

SAR help walkers

Four walkers were rescued off Mt Taranaki's Upper Dive Lake Track after facing thigh-deep snow.

Four people were helped off Mt Taranaki after encountering thigh-deep snow.

Māori voice 'lost from Parliament'

Maori Party candidate Howie Tamati,with supporter Jim Niwa on election night at  Mururaupatu Marae , Bell Block

Māori Party candidate "deeply disappointed" there is no independent Māori voice in the new Parliament.

Coalition mix 'the sooner, the better'

New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young, with wife Maura, at election night celebrations at The Plymouth Hotel.

The sooner the make up of the coalition is decided, the better, MP says.

Manawatu

Winners are grinners video

Ian McKelvie is the National candidate for the Rangītikei electorate.

National candidate Ian McKelvie has won Rangitīkei comfortably.

Waiting for Winston

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway dances with his wife Clare Lees-Galloway as they celebrate him winning a fourth ...

Palmerston North will have an MP influencing Government, no matter how the cards fall.

Island of red in an ocean of blue

A weaker opponent this time and the Jacinda effect were helpful for Iain Lees-Galloway's campaign in Palmerston North.

OPINION: Was National serious about getting votes in Palmerston North?

Guy wins Ōtaki for National

National MP Nathan Guy has kept his Ōtaki seat, easily.

National candidate keeps Whanganui as well, but Labour holds Te Tai Hauāuru.

Nelson

Smith wins Nelson seat video

23092017 NEWS PHOTO BRADEN FASTIER / NELSON MAIL
Rachel Boyack speaks to her supporters on election night at the Labour ...

Nelson seat stays true blue but the party vote swings to the red corner.

O'Connor victorious

Damien O'Connor says he's very pleased to be returned as the West Coast-Tasman MP.

Labour's Damien O'Connor increases his margin in West Coast-Tasman.

Green's profile lifted

Matt Lawrey is flanked by family and supporters at his election party at Lambretta's in Nelson.

Matt Lawrey drew nearly triple the votes of his predecessor for the electorate tick.

Care switch-up 'upsetting'

Pamela Duffy has built up a close relationship with her carers, who will no longer be visiting her at home after the ...

A sudden change in home carers has left an elderly woman confused and upset.

Marlborough

Looking to the future

National's Stuart Smith, centre, celebrates with his family, from left, Hugo Smith, Fenella Smith, Julie Smith and Louis ...

As results are revealed, what's next for the winners and losers?

Care switch 'upsetting'

Pamela Duffy has built up a close relationship with her carers, who will no longer be visiting her at home after the ...

For the past two years, she has built up a relationship with her carers. Next week, she may never see them again.

A ballot box battle

Sounds Air  transported ballot boxes from Kaikōura to Blenheim on Sunday morning.

Plan to use an airplane to fly early votes out of Kaikōura has been scuppered by slips.

Tasman hockey women finish third

Two goals from Pip Lunn helped Tasman claim third place in Wellington.

The Tasman women's team came away from the national senior hockey tournament in Wellington with a bronze medal.

South Canterbury

Hospital Radio honours region

Hospital Radio announcer Ron Parmenter broadcasts live in the studio on Sunday

Timaru's Hospital Radio to play only South Canterbury music on anniversary day.

Falloon ready to roll

New Rangitata MP, National's Andrew Falloon relaxes at the Caroline Bay Piazza in Timaru on Sunday after the election.

Rangitata's new MP "not at all disappointed" by National's reduced majority.

'I made a difference' video

Green Party candidate Mojo Mathers, who has lost her seat in Parliament, was enjoying the serenity of the Waihi river in ...

Jo Luxton "rapt" after party confirmed seat, but "devastated" Mojo Mathers not returning.

Roading, health Dean's priorities

Jacqui Dean has secured the Waitaki electorate seat for the fifth consecutive term.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean has outlined her vision for the Waitaki electorate over the next three years.

Otago

Two MPs for Clutha-Southland

Clutha-Southland New Zealand First candidate Mark Patterson watches his leader Winston Peters, give his coalition speech ...

Clutha-Southland has a new New Zealand First MP, Lawrence farmer Mark Patterson.

Revealing ancient and heavenly stories at Cardrona

Cardrona astronomy guide Alex Thom peers through Cardrona's new telescope.

Cardrona Alpine Resort is reaching for the skies with its new visitor attraction.

Flames beat back rescuers

The fire was in one unit in a block of four.

Neighbours reportedly tried to rescue the occupant of a Dunedin flat where a person died overnight.

Woman rescued, police thank app

A Christchurch woman was found on Ben Lomond, near Queenstown, about 12am on Friday.

A Christchurch woman was rescued from a Queenstown mountain after her husband tracked her location through a phone app.

Southland

Live: The day after the election

Talks could begin shortly with NZ First over a coalition, National's Bill English says.

National's keen for a quick deal with Winston - and if they get it, they could thank Auckland voters.

South's election night

It was all smiles for Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie, pictured here with her husband Mark Billcliff.

Invercargill will have two MPs in Parliament, Labour's Liz Craig and National's Sarah Dowie.

Craig will become Labour list MP

Invercargill Labour Candidate Dr Liz Craig is set to become a list MP after the 2017 general election.

Invercargill Labour candidate Dr Liz Craig lost the battle for the Invercargill electorate seat but will still become an MP.

Ria Bond to leave parliament

NZ First Invercargill candidate Ria Bond with her father Ariki Hoterene-Shortland at the Kelvin Hotel in Invercargill.

There were tears of disappointment for former MP Ria Bond.

Ad Feedback