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Kevin Lee (22) was yesterday named as one of two people whose bodies were found in the Makarora River last weekend.
The third-year University of Otago pharmacy student’s sister, Helen Lee, described him as having ‘‘a happiness that I’ve never seen in anyone else’’.
‘‘He just enjoyed life,’’ she said.
‘‘Every day he just wanted to go out and see something, do something, try something new.’’
An avid outdoorsman, Mr Lee was a member of the Otago University Tramping Club.
‘‘He loved the national parks around Wanaka and Queenstown, and he’d always go on hikes.
‘‘I’d never know where he was, because he was always somewhere different every weekend.’’
He was also a keen photographer.
‘‘He was really passionate about it.
‘‘It had to be the right angle and the right lighting, and he would take 100 photos so that he’d get the right one.’’
Their family had been finding it ‘‘really hard’’ since Mr Lee’s death, she said.
Miss Lee said she only learned her brother was missing on the day his body was found.
‘‘There’s no easy way to deal with things.’’
Adding to the stress was the financial cost of bringing Mr Lee’s body back to Auckland, where he was originally from.
‘‘It’s really expensive.’’
They were planning to set up a Givealittle page to raise funds, once they had picked a charity to give any excess funds to.
Miss Lee said she was unsure who her brother had been tramping with.
The name of the second person whose body was recovered from the river has not been released.
Otago University Students’ Association president Jack Manning said in a statement that Mr Lee was ‘‘an avid and valued member of our university community, and a senior member of the tramping club’’.
‘‘He will be sorely missed by fellow peers.’’