Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

A passionate missionary who loved to help others

Bradley Syred in Mozambique. Bradley died in Sleeping God Canyon near Thames in the Kauaeranga Valley. Photo / Supplied
Bradley Syred in Mozambique. Bradley died in Sleeping God Canyon near Thames in the Kauaeranga Valley. Photo / Supplied

The Aucklander who died canyoning deep in the Coromandel bush at the weekend was a passionate missionary who devoted his life to helping others, his family said.

The body of adventure sports enthusiast Bradley Mark Syred, 32, was found in Sleeping God Canyon in the Kauaeranga Valley in the Coromandel on Saturday afternoon.

Police believe Mr Syred had attempted to descend the canyon alone during a period of high water levels, despite warning signs about the rising water levels.

"The events leading up to and the cause of his death are yet to be determined," said Senior Sergeant Damion Rangitutia.

Today, Mr Syred's family, including parents Glen and Naomi Syred, of Stillwater in Auckland, paid tribute to "a loving and devoted son, brother, and friend".

"He was passionate about helping people live life to the fullest, in New Zealand and abroad," the family said in a prepared statement released to the Herald.

Mr Syred "dedicated two years of his life" to working with homeless young people in India, Brazil and Mozambique, his family said.

"We are all inspired by the compassionate and joyful way Brad lived," the Syred family said.

"The depth of our heartache reflects how much we love and miss Brad."

The family also expressed their "heartfelt gratitude" to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Land SAR Waikato, Thames Police, and "the two incredible volunteers" from local canyoning company CanyoNZ involved in finding Mr Syred.

A close friend, who did not wish to be named, said Mr Syred, business manager of an Auckland-based earthworks and cleanfilling firm, was an inspirational figure to him and many others.

"He basically spends his life uplifting others," he said.

"There is a huge amount we could learn from his life."

The former Rangitoto College pupil was a lover of adventure sports, especially partner acrobatics, canyoning, caving, and hiking.

A MetService sign had been placed at the entrance to the canyoning area and CanyoNZ had cancelled its trips yesterday because of poor weather and high rivers.

Police say while the circumstances of Saturday's tragedy are yet to be confirmed, a number of lessons have been identified which, if learned, may help prevent similar tragedies.

"The first is to be aware of your skill levels and we advise against people undertaking adventure sports by themselves," Mr Rangitutia said.

"Always leave your group's intentions and when you'll be back with family, friends or accommodation providers and pay attention to weather and take heed of warning signs."

The death has been reported to the coroner.

- NZ Herald

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