Miroslav Tvaroh was so in love with his adopted home country he convinced his childhood sweetheart to move here and love it as well.
But the life he shared with his partner, Simona Vokralova, in their Wairarapa "paradise" of Greytown came to a tragic end when he disappeared on Christmas Eve.
A body, believed to be that of the 34-year-old Greytown man, was discovered at the bottom of Castle Rock, just south of the coastal town of Castlepoint, about 7.45am yesterday, ending an extensive search.
Police believe he fell about 160 metres from Castle Rock.
The body had not been formally identified last night but Mr Tvaroh's family in the Czech Republic had been informed and the search for him had been called off.
Close friend Phil Keinzley said he was in total shock that Mr Tvaroh was gone, especially as his life was going so well.
After moving here from the Czech Republic in 2005, Mr Tvaroh had finally found plenty of work as a football coach, he was weeks away from becoming a permanent resident, and he was happily settled with Ms Vokralova, who moved here two years ago.
Mr Tvaroh and Ms Vokralova had known each other since they were children, Mr Keinzley said.
"He brainwashed her into loving New Zealand the same way he did, he taught her to surf so they could do it together . . . they weren't married but they were going down that track," he said.
"Anybody could see they were the perfect couple, she was just 100 per cent devoted to him."
Mr Keinzley said Mr Tvaroh considered New Zealand to be a paradise compared to the rest of the world.
Police are not investigating any suspicious circumstances. Fairfax NZ
- Taranaki Daily News
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