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Julian Bruins Yates, 52, a skipper for Black Cat Cruises, died on Friday in a three-vehicle crash on Weka Pass Rd in Hurunui.
On Friday the police said the crash involved three vehicles.
"Julian was a colourful character, he had been a part of the Black Cat team for ten years," Black Cat Cruises chief executive, Paul Milligan, told the Herald.
Milligan said he found out what happened on Friday, and his team was devastated.
"It is a pretty small team, there are definitely a lot of people who are feeling it pretty hard at the moment."
Yates was the "face and voice" of the company's Akaroa Harbour cruise since 2011. Being out on the water in nature was "his happy place," said Milligan.
He estimated about 100,000 guests over the past decade had been on a cruise with Yates.
"He was definitely a big personality and someone who will be dearly missed," said Milligan.
"Akaroa is a small town and Julian had involvement with a lot of things and the whole community is feeling it."
The police said inquries into the crash were ongoing.