Ex-Queenstown man on downed flight

Benoit Chardome fell in love with Queenstown.
Benoit Chardome fell in love with Queenstown.
A popular former Auckland and Queenstown restaurateur was on board the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Kiwi friends of "gregarious and fun" Benoit Chardome were yesterday mourning the Dutchman, who lived in New Zealand for more than 10 years before moving to Bali six years ago.

Chardome was the maitre d' at popular Parnell restaurant Iguacu for two years in the 1990s before "falling in love" with Queenstown. He moved there and bought two restaurants - Bath House and Pasta Pasta.

The 50-year-old was best man at Aucklander Scott Holt's wedding in 2005.

Holt said Chardome was always "the life of the party".

"He was an amazing guy, gregarious, fun and so full of life," Holt told the Herald on Sunday.