The young man who died in a fatal crash near Wanaka had just finished school and was about to start a new job.
Jackson James Aitchison, of Luggate, died when a car he was in crashed into a tree on Ballyntyne Rd near Morris Rd about 5.45pm yesterday.
Mount Aspiring College principal Wayne Bosley said the 17-year-old had completed his final day at the school yesterday and was set to start on the next stage of his life.
He had been employed by Central Machine Hire in Wanaka.
"It's a tragic situation for him and his family and our best wishes and sympathy go to his family,'' Mr Bosley said.
Jackson had enrolled in the school at the start of the year and had previously attended South Otago High School, he said.
"He was just so excited about his new opportunities.''
There were no other occupants in the car.
Police said the crash was being investigated.
The incident occurred just past a point where the road changes from gravel to tarseal.
Residents of the area have been calling for Queenstown Lakes District Council action to improve the road after a series of crashes, including five in a six-week period earlier this year.