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Ben Petrie, who worked as a technician for Airways at Queenstown Airport, died near Cape Reinga, Northland, while on a road trip with his four best mates.
Girlfriend Erin Morgan said there were no words to accurately describe the ''extraordinary'' 34-year-old.
The pair had spent a week in the Coromandel and Ms Morgan said goodbye to him on Saturday before travelling back to Queenstown.
He went north with friends.
He was a really popular bloke, very witty, and loved his family and friends, she said.
''He was comedy gold - it was a huge part of him. He'd have us cry-laughing with his antics or his wit. He absolutely loved making people laugh and he loved a good costume party and would always do something crazy for one.''
Mr Petrie, who grew up between Dunedin and Christchurch, loved the outdoors and was often seen cruising around Skippers or Glenorchy on his motorcycle or in his Land Rover.
He was a bit of a science geek and technology boffin, she said. ''One of his favourite things to do was research anything technical or science-based.''
Ms Morgan, his partner of 12 and a-half years, said he was always tinkering in the workshop of their home.
''He liked nothing better than creating and designing stuff. He was really creative as well as practical.''
The couple moved to Queenstown in 2013 to be closer to Mr Petrie's grandparents Merle and Bill Johnston, who lived in Cromwell.
''He was someone that just looked after everybody. He loved his family and friends and me. If there was anything he could do to help anyone else he would do it straight away.
''I just don't know what I am going to do without him, really.''
His funeral will take place in Christchurch, but Miss Morgan was unable to confirm a date.
He is also survived by parents Megan Johnston and Brett Petrie.