LATEST: The family of the Canterbury University student found dead in a Hagley Park drain yesterday say they are devastated at their loss.
A statement released on behalf of Nick John Renouf's family tonight described Renouf as "an incredible guy, and a great son and brother".
"We are hurting and we miss him very much. Nick was a gifted young man. He was sensitive, caring, talented, intelligent and charming - he really was the full package.
"We are devastated to have lost him in such a tragic way, and are going to miss him terribly."
Police said Renouf, 19, had briefly been in custody at the Christchurch police station the night before his death.
Christchurch area commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said Renouf had been arrested for a breach of a liquor ban in Riccarton Rd at 9.55pm on Wednesday.
"He was processed at the Christchurch central custody suite and released with a pre-charge warning at around 10.40pm,'' he said.
"We have reviewed the process and interviewed officers who dealt with Mr Renouf, and there is no indication that he was impaired in any way.
"He was engaging well with our staff and was in good health at the time he was released."
McGregor believed Renouf made his own way from the station.
Renouf's family are expected to arrive in Christchurch this afternoon from their home in Tauranga.
He was studying mechanical engineering at the University of Canterbury and is survived by a brother and sister.
University of Canterbury Students' Association president Erin Jackson said Renouf was a popular student, with friends across campus.
She believed he had lived with four other engineering students.
He was in his third year of study, she said.
''We are working closely with the university to shape the pastoral care for students and identify the most affected.''
The association would try to help the flatmates by organising food parcels and hardship funds, Jackson said.
Free student counselling was available at the university's health centre, she said.
Canterbury's vice-chancellor, Rod Carr, has written to all staff after the student's death.
"Our heartfelt condolences go to Nick's family, who we will be supporting as best we can," he wrote. "Our condolences also go to Nick's friends."
He said the university would not be offering further details at this stage.
"But we will provide the university community with more information when it is appropriate to do so and in a manner that respects the sensitivities of those who have been bereaved."
Carr encouraged staff and students to seek any support needed from friends, colleagues or university counsellors.
"A sudden death such as this can be very difficult to comprehend and it is important that we support each other during this very sad time."
The university would support Renouf's family as best it could, Carr said.
Renouf's death has been referred to the coroner.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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