Family heartbroken to lose son on mountain
The family of a man who died on Mt Taranaki on Tuesday are "absolutely devastated."
He was Morgan Ross Fraser, 22, from Palmerston North.
The man's family said, in a written statement released by police on Friday, they were "absolutely devastated to lose such an amazing son, brother, grandson, friend and all-round good sort."
The family take comfort in knowing that he was doing something he loved, the statement said.
"Thank you to everyone for their kind messages and support.
The family thanked police, army, and search and rescue teams for helping to find their son and bring him off the mountain.
"Words can't describe how we feel right now and how much we miss Morgan,' they said.
"It's hard to summarise his life and all his good qualities.
"He's going to leave a huge hole in our family. We love you Morgan."
Fraser was reported missing on Tuesday night and his body was recovered from the mountain on Thursday. Low cloud had hindered initial attempts by a helicopter crew to recover his body near Ambury Bluff and Humphries Castle, at 1600m altitude.
NZ Mountain Safety Council spokesman Mike Daisley said Mt Taranaki presented a very dangerous alpine environment to all climbers at this time of the year.
Fraser was a keen outdoorsman with a passion for mountaineering, Chief of Army Major General Peter Kelly, MNZM, said.
"It's with great sadness I find myself writing to you all today to confirm the young man who passed away on Mt Taranaki on Wednesday was one of our own, " Major General Kelly said in a written statement.
"Morgan was a keen outdoorsman, and over the past few days I've been privileged to hear stories about this young soldier - a good southern lad from Gore who was a determined and capable soldier with a passion for mountaineering.'
Fraser had enlisted into the Army in April 2013, and was posted to Victor Company, 1 RNZIR.
He later served in the Signals Platoon, before transferring the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Platoon in March this year.
"Morgan was Aumangea Programme qualified, and had a promising career ahead of him," Kelly said.
The programme is a 35 day wilderness exercise where soldiers learn to think on their feet, and fend for themselves using resources around them for food and shelter.
"Morgan's loss will be keenly felt by his family, comrades and mates.
"My thoughts and prayers are with them as they come to terms with their loss.
"His service to New Zealand will not be forgotten."
A New Zealand Defence Force spokeswoman said Fraser was a serving member of the First Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment.
"Our thoughts, sympathies and support are with his family, friends and comrades at this time," the spokeswoman said.
- Taranaki Daily News