Tramper's body found

The body of a well-regarded music journalist who went missing while tramping in Mount Aspiring National Park has been found.

Scott "Brock" Oliver, 41, was last seen at on the evening of January 4 when he separated from the rest of his party to attempt a short-cut through part of a gorge in the upper reaches of the Wilkin River.

The party was on a seven-day tramping trip in the national park area.

Search and rescue teams tracked the Wellington man's footprints into the gorge, but could find no trace of an exit.

Sergeant Aaron Nicholson, search and rescue coordinator for Wanaka Police, said at the time that they had no option but to accept that Oliver had been swept into the gorge and drowned.

However, police search and rescuers responded to a sighting in the Wilkin River yesterday afternoon.

Mr Nicholson said: "A tramper exiting the valley had see the deceased's body lying on the open river bed about 30m from the main river.

"He reported this to a local jet boat operator who passed the information on to police."

The body, believed to Oliver's, was recovered about 15km downstream from where he was last seen alive.

Mr Nicholson said he suspected a significant amount of rainfall last week had produced enough volume and force in the river to push the body from the gorge to where it was found yesterday.

Police said a post-mortem would be undertaken at Dunedin Hospital today and enquiries by Coroner David Crerar were being made to confirm the identity of the body.

Oliver's family had been informed and were clearly pleased and relieved he had been found, police said.

Oliver -- who friends this month described as a "wonderful gentleman" -- contributed to the local music, media and publishing industries.

He went to high school in Taranaki before living in Auckland, then Wellington. Oliver wrote for magazines and websites including Rip It Up, Remix, Selector, Lava, Yahoo Music and recently FishHead in Wellington.

In his early career, Oliver edited Pulp magazine. He also wrote sleeve notes for Electric Dreams, a compilation of 1980s synth pop music.

In the mid-2000s he regularly featured in the Herald on Sunday's social pages as a DJ and party guest, his beaming smile and snappy dress sense on display.

Oliver edited Real Groove magazine from 2004 to 2006, in which year he won the Lifestyle Magazine of the Year Award for "intelligent, appealing writing" that judges acclaimed as world-class.

 

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