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Belgian Benedict Chardome (51) was flying back to his home in Bali, Indonesia, after a honeymoon in the United States and Europe with his Malaysian husband Puput. The couple had married in Antwerp in June.
Mr Chardome was one of 298 people who died when the Malaysian Airlines flight crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.
The popular restaurateur - he owned The Bathhouse restaurant on Queenstown Bay - lived in New Zealand for a decade before moving to Bali, where he had lived for the past six years.
Friends have paid tribute to Mr Chardome, who also owned Brecon St restaurant Pasta Pasta and a Belgian beer cafe in Shotover St.
''It's come as quite a shock,'' Queenstown restaurateur Tony Robertson said.
''He was always ebullient, a glass-is-half-full person, and a consummate professional at his job.
''He loved working front of house and was really good at it ... very good to his staff; they were loyal to him, and he gave a start to quite a few of the newer restaurateurs in town, who worked through the ranks at his restaurants.
''There'll be a lot of people in town affected by his death.''
Mr Chardome was a member of international gastronomic society Chaine des Rotisseurs.
''Ben was immensely proud of his membership,'' Mr Robertson said.
''He had a great passion for wines and food.''
Mr Chardome had been recalled for work in Bali and Puput remained in Switzerland with friends.