The family of Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye lost in big seas in last month's Paritutu rock climbing tragedy say they cannot rest until they find his body.
Bruce Gedye, father of the Spotswood student, broke the family's silence yesterday to reveal that his family was continuing to search the shoreline.
"We are still looking every day hoping to find the body to put him to rest and carry on, really. Night-time is always the worst time," the New Plymouth man said.
"Every morning we go out to search. This morning we went from Bell Block to Waitara."
Last week the extended family joined forces to search the rocky Opunake coastline.
"It was a massive effort. Ninety per cent is rock."
When asked if he wished to put out a call for others to come to their assistance, Mr Gedye said he could not do so.
"We're not expecting others to continue to search. The public has already done a hell of a lot more than we ever expected."
They are now concentrating on the northern shoreline after experts, including divers and oceanographers, say any movement was more likely to be to the north.
"We're now going from Bell Block and heading north and we plan to go further each day."
They have been told the best time to search is on the low and outgoing tide.
His two-man search team - he and his uncle - have had a few close calls with the incoming tides.
"You can get trapped. We've had to backtrack a couple of times."
Mr Gedye said the time would soon come for the family to make public their thank you to everyone involved in the search and for the community support.
"At this point we are still hopeful we will get a result."
In the early days, the private family had wanted to remain out of the public eye, he said.
Sometimes it became too much when people came up to shake his hand and give him their sympathy and condolences, he said.
"I don't want to offend anybody."
Meanwhile, they had taken heart in the large numbers of people who had told them how much Stephen had done for them.
The body of international student Felipe Melo, also 17, was found at the power station inlet 10 days after the fall.
A funeral service was held for the Brazilian boy at Spotswood College.
The body of Topec instructor Bryce John Jourdain, 42, who jumped in to help the two boys, has not been found.A memorial service will be held for Mr Jourdain at 1.30pm on Saturday at New Plymouth Boys' High.
Investigations are under way into the tragedy.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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