Golf club president confirmed dead in tramping incident

Lake Hāwea Golf Club president Steve Smith died in a tramping incident on Saturday, police say.

He fell about 50m down a mountain from Breast Hill Track, near Lake Hāwea, Sergeant Darren Cranfield confirmed.

Sgt Cranfield said police were now investigating on behalf of the coroner what happened before Mr Smith fell from a narrow part of the track.

He could not comment on the cause; for example, whether it was the conditions or a medical event.

Mr Smith had been tramping with a friend, who called emergency services.

The Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter flew to the site and Mr Smith was treated for injuries sustained in the fall but did not survive, Sgt Cranfield said.

The track is part of the Te Araroa Trail, which runs the length of the country.

Conditions on the track on Saturday were windy.

The Lake Hāwea Golf Club posted on its Facebook page on Sunday, saying:

"Steve was the current club president, passionate golfer, and a great and generous human".

One person posted on the page that Mr Smith was a "true gentleman who always had a smile and showed kindness to everyone".

"The void left will be immense, and we will be collectively mourning the loss of a beloved club president, confidant, and friend."

Another person said he was a "lovely, kind man who was always generous with his time".

He was also a "top bloke" and "one of life’s true gentlemen", other people said.

— Additional reporting The New Zealand Herald