Owaka is in mourning after the death of a popular teenager in a Boxing Day quad bike crash.
Rowan Cai Parker, 16, was a talented athlete and actor who was to be head boy of the South Otago town's Catlins Area School next year.
Rowan was killed after the quad bike he was riding, initially described by police as a motorbike, went over the edge of a cliff at Marks Bay, in the Chaslands, about 6.30pm on Wednesday.
Catlins Area School principal Alex MacCreadie said Rowan had just been announced as next year's head boy at the school's end-of-term prizegiving.
"He was pleased as punch . . . over the moon." Mr MacCreadie said. "He was a fabulous role model."
Rowan was a superb athlete across many different sports, an excellent actor who had played the lead role in school productions, and a kapa haka leader. He was also head of the school's Nora house, and would turn up to every school event dressed in its blue colours, Mr MacCreadie said.
The Parker family and the Owaka community was devastated by Rowan's death, he said.
"My son was also friends with him . . . he is going to be very sorely missed. A big gap to fill."
Senior Sergeant Richard Whitmore, of Balclutha, said Rowan had been riding with a group of friends along a clifftop track when he lost control of the quad bike and crashed over the cliff edge.
The area, Marks Bay, was rugged and remote, he said.
Rowan fell 150 metres on to rocks below the cliff.
When emergency services reached him he was already dead from his injuries. His body was airlifted to hospital.
Mr Whitmore said the quad bike was to be recovered yesterday.
The matter had been referred to the coroner and no further details would be released, he said.
- The Southland Times
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