The sole New Zealand citizen on board the ill-fated MH17 flight has been remembered as a "warm, creative and generous" person.
Mary Menke, 65, and her Dutch-born husband Gerry were returning to their home in Australia after celebrating his 70th birthday with family and friends in the south of France.
Gallery: The faces behind the tragedy of flight MH17
Image 1 of 41 Mary Menke, New Zealander confirmed as being on the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. Photo / supplied Image 2 of 41 Three confirmed passengers onboard MH17. Malaysian actress, Shuba Jaya, was returning to Malaysia with her husband, Paul Goes, and their 2-year-old-da Image 3 of 41 Widi Yuwono, the brother of Yuli Hastini, holds a photograph of his sister's family, Hastini, right, John Paulissen, left, and their two children, Arj Image 4 of 41 Robert Ayley , New Zealander confirmed as being onboard Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. Photo / supplied Image 5 of 41 Bryce Fredriksz and Daisy Oehlers of The Netherlands. Photo / via Facebook Image 6 of 41 Widi Yuliono a relative of John Paulisen, shows photographs of John Paulisen (Top-L), Yuli Hastini (Top-R), Arjuna Martin Paulisen (L) and Sri Paulise Image 7 of 41 Jennifer Van Der Leij of The Netherlands. Photo / via Facebook Image 8 of 41 Muhammad Afif, Mohd Afruz , Marsha Azmeena , Tambi Jiee , Ariza Ghazalee, Muhammad Afzal. Photo / via Facebook Image 9 of 41 Ariza Ghazalee and Tambi Jiee seen on top of Table Mountain in a photo posted to Facebook. Image 10 of 41 Karlijn Keijzer, 25, a doctoral student at Indiana University where she was on the rowing team. Photo / supplied Image 11 of 41 Henk Tournier (R) with his wife Ineke Westerveld. Photo / supplied Image 12 of 41 Robert Ayley and his wife Sharlene. Ayley is confirmed as being onboard the doomed Malaysian Airlies Flight MH17. Photo / supplied Image 13 of 41 Dutch-American student Quinn Lucas Schansman, 19. Photo / via Facebook Image 14 of 41 Canadian man Andrei Anghel, 24. Photo / via LinkedIn Image 15 of 41 Dublin born Edel Mahady, a mother of two living in Perth, Australia. Photo / supplied Image 16 of 41 Ben Pocock, 20, of Keynsham near Bristol. Photo / via Facebook Image 17 of 41 Leicster man Richard Mayne, 20. Photo / via Facebook Image 18 of 41 Newcastle United fan John Alder. Photo / supplied Image 19 of 41 Newcastle United fan Liam Sweeney, confirmed as being onboard doomed Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Photo / via Facebook Image 20 of 41 Cameron Dalziel, confirmed as being onboard doomed Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, seen here with his wife Reine and son Sheldon. Photo / via Twitter Image 21 of 41 Fatima Dyczynski, 24, CEO and Director of Xoterra Space. Photo / supplied Image 22 of 41 Sister Philomene Tiernan (left) with Kincoppal-Rose Bay Principal Hilary Johnston-Croke . Tiernan has been confirmed as being onboard the doomed Malay Image 23 of 41 Mohamad Ghafar Abu Bakar, the chief air steward onboard the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 . Pictured here with his mother 74 yeard Maimon Sarp Image 24 of 41 Ng Shi Ing, a 33 year old Malaysian Edinburgh University graduate. Photo / supplied Image 25 of 41 Valentijn and Emma Essers, confirmed as passengers onboard MH17. Photo / supplied Image 26 of 41 Passport of Dutch woman Jolette Nuesink , found by a local in Eastern Ukraine after the destruction of MH17. Photo / via Twitter Image 27 of 41 Albert and Maree Rizk, of Sunbury, Victoria. Photo / supplied Image 28 of 41 Francesca (Frankie) and her husband Liam Davison who are understood to have been on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Photo / supplied Image 29 of 41 Elaine Teoh, a student at Melbourne University. Photo / via Facebook Image 30 of 41 Perth man Nick Norris who perished along with his grandchildren on Malaysia Airlines MH17. Photo / supplied Image 31 of 41 Child victims of MH17 Mo Maslin, 12, (left), his brother Otis, eight, (centre) and sister Evie Maslin, 10, (right) were killed on the flight along wit Image 32 of 41 Queensland Pathologist Dr Roger Guard. Photo / supplied Image 33 of 41 Cor Pan who is among the victims of the MH17 Malaysia airlines crash. Photo / supplied Image 34 of 41 Dr Jill Guard pictured in Auckland on 3rd July 2014. Guard is believed to have died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukrai Image 35 of 41 Malaysia Airlines Stewardess Angeline Premila pictured in Auckland on 3rd July 2014. Photo / supplied. Image 36 of 41 Malaysia Airlines MH17 Steward Sanjid Singh. Photo / supplied Image 37 of 41 Malaysia Airlines stewardess Azrina Yakob. Photo / supplied Image 38 of 41 Leading researcher into the HIV virus Joep Lange, Professor of Medicine, Head of the Department of Global Health, at the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) Image 39 of 41 Elaine Teoh, 27, a Melbourne University student is confirmed to have been on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Photo / supplied Image 40 of 41 Albert Rizk from Melbourne was with his wife Maree on the flight. Photo / supplied Image 41 of 41 Angeline Premila. Photo / via Facebook
The pair were two of the 298 people killed when the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was shot out of the sky over Ukraine on Friday, reportedly by Russian-backed separatists.
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Mary, who moved to Australia in her mid-20s, and her husband were pioneers in the seafood industry in their adopted home of Mallacoota, Victoria.
They left behind four children Paul, Sara, Brett and Anna. In a statement, the family said they would be "sorely missed".
"We take comfort in the fact they were together and that's how they would have wanted it to be."
It is understood Mary's father and sister live in New Zealand.
Watch: MH17: Officials fear MH17 site tampered by rebels
Mary was a talented piano player, taught music at the local high school, and supported Gerry's business ventures. "She was a larger-than-life character ... warm, creative and generous," the Menke family said.
Gerry, a paua diver with more than 30 years experience, helped establish Victoria's burgeoning abalone pearl aquaculture business. He was reportedly inspired to start the business after a visit to a New Zealand enterprise.
A relative last night told the Herald on Sunday from Australia that Mary had moved to Australia in 1971, where she "met the man of her dreams".
Watch: MH17: Pro-Russian rebels refusing to hand over crash evidence: Kiev
And last night, as the world's anger turned on Ukraine and Russia, fresh details emerged of other Kiwi connections to the ill-fated flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Rob Ayley, 29, from Otaki, was on his way home from a month-long trip to Europe. He is survived by wife Sharlene and sons, Seth, 4, and Taylor, 2.
Dutch couple Hendrik-Jan "Henk" Tournier and Ineke Westerveld were on their way to New Zealand to visit Henk's Taupo-based daughter, Nanda Bright, and their two grandsons, aged 12 and 9.
Flames amongst the wreckage of the jet. Photo / AFP
Popular former Auckland and Queenstown restaurateur Benoit Chardome was also on board. The Dutchman lived in New Zealand for more than 10 years before moving to Bali six years ago. He was maitre d' at well-known Parnell restaurant Iguacu for two years, before buying two Queenstown eateries.
Two Newcastle United fans following their team to New Zealand for the English Premier League club's first tour here were killed, and will be honoured at games played in Dunedin and Wellington this week.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities last night accused Russian rebels of removing bodies and tampering with evidence at the crash site. Armed pro-Russian rebels earlier stood guard and fired warning shots at international inspectors.
A piece of the plane lies in the grass as a group of Ukrainian coal miners search the crash site. Photo / AP
Bodies and debris are strewn across a 10km radius near Grabovo, around 50km from the Russian border.
Internationally mediated talks "concluded with an agreement to set up a 20km security zone so Ukraine could fulfil the most important thing - identify the bodies and hand them over to relatives," Ukrainian Security Service head Valentyn Nalyvaychenko said last night.
It remained unclear whether the crucial black boxes were still at the site. Amid confusion over the whereabouts of the flight recorders, Russian authorities had to deny having any plans to spirit them away.
That assurance failed to stop pressure on Moscow. President Barack Obama described the deaths of nearly 300 people as an "outrage", as he issued a stark warning to Vladimir Putin for supporting the separatists who are thought to have fired the surface-to-air missile which brought down the aircraft.
Putin was accused of avoiding phone calls from world leaders.
The UN Security Council in New York yesterday passed a resolution calling for a "full, thorough and independent international investigation". Dutch Ambassador to the UN Karel van Oosterom told the council's emergency meeting: "This is a dark hour in our national history. We are a nation in shock."
Foreign Minister Murray McCully joined the voices calling for a credible inquiry. The disaster comes just four months after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from the skies with 239 people on board, including Kiwis Paul Weeks and Ximin Wang.
• Reporting team: Kirsty Wynn, Brendan Manning, Amy Maas, Matthew Theunissen