Students and staff at Golden Bay High School and members of the community were in shock earlier this week when they found out about the death of "beloved" long-time teacher Richard Bayliff.
Principal of Golden Bay High School Roger File said Richard had been teaching at the school for 26 years. He had also been head of the maths department for that time.
"He spent many years as a Year Nine Dean. His whole purpose, in terms of teaching, was that he was there for the students," said Roger.
"His whole school day was that he'd stay in the classroom where he could be available for students. He'd take students to the regional Rock Quest, giving students opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have."
Roger said Richard started the Year Nine Day Out programme, where students went out into the community and spent days with people working in their areas of interest.
"The students just loved him."
On Tuesday Roger said they were "still pretty stunned."
He said he knew the school was going to have quite a lot of gaps to fill.
"We're just making sure everyone at school is supported and feels supported.
"There would have been many students going home last night to parents who were taught by him as well," said Roger.
Golden Bay parent Haley Gale said she was very upset to hear about Richard's death.
"As a parent I think it's a devastating loss to the Golden Bay High School.
"I know how much my sons appreciated his teaching."
Hayley's son and former student Sebastian du Feu remarked on Twitter that Richard was "an absolute legend and the best maths teacher ever."
Richard was found lying on the kitchen floor by his neighbour David Thorpe on Monday morning.
David said he'd spoken to Richard the night before. David said a post-mortem was being carried out and that there was "nothing suspicious".
A memorial service will be held within the next fortnight, said high school staff.
- © Fairfax NZ News