Tributes for lost tramper Scott Oliver

Friends of Scott "Brock" Oliver are coming to terms with news the lively DJ and journalist is presumed drowned after going missing in high country.

Oliver went missing in Mt Aspiring National Park on Sunday and police yesterday announced they had called off the search, some 48 hours after he was last seen.

Friends of the "wonderful gentleman" were devastated today -- but had fond, colourful memories of a man who contributed to the local music, media and publishing industries.

Oliver, 41, went to high school in Taranaki before living in Auckland, then Wellington.

"He was passionate about music and travel and life in general, and definitely made some inspiring sartorial choices on a regular basis," said his friend, Auckland writer and copywriter Helene Ravlich.

"He was a pretty special person, and one of biggest pop culture fiends I have ever met ... making him the perfect person to occupy a role at the helm of multiple music mags and the like, back when magazines still meant something to the average punter," Ravlich added.

"It's often said, but this time was definitely justified -- Brock was one of a kind, and will be missed by everyone who knew him."

Oliver wrote for magazines and websites including Rip It Up, Remix, Selector, Lava, Yahoo Music and recently FishHead in Wellington.

Brianne Kerr, New Zealand Fringe Festival marketing and communications manager, said Oliver was a "visionary" and a "wonderful gentleman".

At work, Ms Kerr shared a floor with him when he worked for FishHead magazine. "We had big chats. He had big plans for FishHead, then became a contributor to the magazine."

Ms Kerr also remembered Oliver's snappy dress sense. "He was a dapper guy," she said. "He will be remembered fondly."

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.

Chris Hart, co-owner of Real Groovy, that former magazine's publishers, said Oliver was a dynamic man.

"He was, in some respects, larger than life. He always seemed to have a huge amount of energy."

He said when Real Groovy's retail business was in trouble, it was reassuring to know the magazine was in good hands with Oliver at the helm.

Mr Hart agreed "Brock" had a big impact on New Zealand's music and publishing industries. "He certainly made his mark."

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.

Police said Oliver was on a walk to Lake Lucidus with his partner and two members of her family. On Sunday, he was returning with the others to a campsite on the 'Jumboland' flats when he left the track.

In a gorge some 25m wide, Oliver's tracks were traced leading to the Wilkins River, but not leading out.

Wanaka search and rescue spokesman Phil Melchior said the river itself was about 3-4m wide. It flowed fast.

"The river, which a little bit downstream is shallow and benign at this time of year, just a little further upstream, is a raging torrent."

Mr Melchior said the search was over but recovery efforts would never be abandoned.

"Until another tour comes up, there won't be another formal organised search -- but we don't forget."


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