Liam Edwards, who was killed in a Central Otago helicopter crash on Saturday, had recently become a father.
The 32-year-old's son, Alexander, is just five weeks old.
Mr Edwards' sister Amber Taniwha said anyone who knew him would remember his "crazy chainsaw laugh, his infectious smile and his passion for life".
Mr Edwards died when the helicopter he was in crashed in foggy conditions at midday, east of Lindis Pass.
Ms Taniwha said Mr Edwards married his wife, Jaimee, in February last year, and it was a tragedy his little boy Alex would not get to know him.
He loved and adored them both, she said.
"Anyone who was lucky enough to meet Liam will remember him for a lot of different reasons, but his crazy chainsaw laugh, his infectious smile and his passion for life will top the list for most of us."
Ms Taniwha said Mr Edwards loved his work, and part-owned a successful earth-moving business which he saw not as a job, but as a passion.
"[He was] a master of his trade.
"Liam loved his family and friends and we loved him. He was a hero to his three nieces and three nephews -- hands on, the rough and tumble, the 'cool' uncle.
"He loved a good yarn, a real story teller. As his grandmother would always say, he would never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
"He loved to fish (his fish was always bigger than yours), he loved to hunt, he loved to dive, the higher the risk the more Liam wanted to do it. Our legend," Ms Taniwha said.
"Our family is devastated, he has left a huge hole, it's so unfair as he had so much left to do."
Mr Edwards was the son of Rodger and Mary, brother to Todd Edwards, Ms Taniwha and Sharn Roskam, and grandson to Bess and Colin Nicholas.
The other occupant of the helicopter, 52-year-old Murray Sarginson, was last night in a serious condition in Dunedin Hospital.
Mr Sarginson's family said he was "pretty knocked around" but improving.
It's understood the helicopter, a Robinson R22, was owned by Aurum Helicopters, a crop-spraying company based in Cromwell.
The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the crash.