The New Zealand flag is flying at half-mast at the former primary school of slain Christchurch soldier Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer.
Durrer, 26, was one of two New Zealand soldiers killed in Bamiyan when their armoured vehicles were fired at on Saturday night, New Zealand time.
Phillipstown school principal Tony Simpson confirmed the soldier had attended the primary school and called him a "shining star".
"The flag is flying at half-mast out of respect for the family and everyone involved."
One of the soldier's former teachers was still teaching at the school and remembered Durrer, Simpson said.
"Thoughts are with the family at this very difficult time and I am saddened to hear one of our shining star pupils has passed away in such a tragic way," he said.
Durrer's family have also been gathering together to support one another following his sudden death.
His grandfather said he was born in Invercargill but moved to Christchurch when he was about six years old. He was schooled at Linwood College.
The soldier's mother died more than a decade ago, his father was "not around" and his grandfather said he had been raised by his aunt in Christchurch.
News of his grandson's death was a "bit sudden", he said.
Family had gathered together today in Christchurch.
Durrer went to primary and secondary school in Christchurch.
His girlfriend lived in Palmerston North and was currently on her way down to be with his family, his grandfather said.
It was Durrer's first deployment to Afghanistan.
'Proud of all he accomplished'
In a statement released to the public Pralli Durrer's family said he had had a "rewarding career" with the Army.
"Our family are going through a very difficult time after learning of Pralli's death in Afghanistan. Support we are receiving from our wider family, friends and Pralli's Army family has been encouraging and we are thankful that Pralli will be home with us soon.
"We are all thankful for the 26 years we had with Pralli and are proud of all that he accomplished in his short time with us. He has had a rewarding career as a soldier and we know he had a positive effect on all those he worked alongside throughout his time with NZ Army.
"We ask that the public and media please respect our privacy at this difficult time while we mourn the passing of our much loved nephew, grandson, son, cousin and friend.
"The details of Pralli's funeral will be released in due course and we ask that you remain patient while we organise the fitting farewell that he deserves."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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