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Duayne Insley, known to his friends as Dweeb, died during the World Championship Jetboat Marathon on the Waimakariri River in Canterbury on Sunday morning.
She paid tribute to her late husband.
"He gave my life meaning and absolute happiness," Mrs Insley said.
"We worked, lived and travelled together, but he never stopped my independence either.
"I will miss him every minute of every day for the rest of my life. I will remember Duayne for his strong will, his determination to get things done and his no-nonsense attitude.''
"Duayne's loyalty to the people and community that he loved was impeccable. He has risked life and limb for many others and has touched many hearts.''
He is also survived by daughter Evee, step-children Casey and James, his sister Michelle, his brother Zane and his father Noel.
Mrs Insley said he lived for the outdoors, hunting and camping.
"Some of his closest friends were his boat driver, Dwayne Terry, Gilly and Justin (aka Scottish) and his mate Ted. The all shared the same interest so no surprise that two for them were there for the last ride.''
She says Mr Insley understood the risks of motorsport.
"We all understood that this sport is a high risk sport, there is no blame attached, Dwayne Terry is a faultless driver.
"This is an accident in the true meaning of the word, it was unpredicted, and unforeseen. My heart goes out to him and his family.''
Mr Insley was born in Taihape in 1970. He grew up throughout central North Island and moved to Glenorchy at aged 24 to take up a job as a shepherd on Greenstone Routeburn Station.
He held down various jobs in Glenorchy ranging from bar man, bus driver, both school and tourism, commercial jet boat driver for Dart Safaris, digger driving for Donerite, and finally as
owner/operator of High Country Horses with his wife Deana.
He had 15 years' experience with jetboats, the pinnacle was with Dwayne Terry in the FX class. They won the world championship in the FX class in 2013, have twice been NZ Champs
twice in the FX class, and have won races on every river in the South Island.
Mrs Insley said she has received hundreds of messages of support via text message and social media and was touched by them. She also thanked crew mechanic Russell Woodall for supporting everyone.
A celebration of Duayne's life will be held at Paradise Trust in Glenorchy on Sunday, 1pm.