Police have warned against adventurers taking on solo missions, in the wake of the death of a skier on Mt Ruapehu.
The body of Taupo skier Richard Ebbett, 39, was recovered from the crater lake near the summit of the active volcano on Saturday morning.
Indications were that he fell in by accident at an area where many people go to view the lake and the case has been referred to a coroner.
Ebbett has been described by family and friends as an adventurous and kind man. As well as being a skier, he was a keen motorcyclist and the owner of a motorcycle suspension business.
In 2001, Ebbett was credited with saving a toddler from drowning after she was thrown off a trailer that crashed into a ditch with the tractor that was towing it. He also freed two children who were trapped.
Police were told by friends and family of Ebbett at about 6pm on Friday that he was missing, said police spokesman Aaron Owen.
"He was reported to have been skiing at Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu on the Thursday ... and had failed to turn up for an appointment at 5pm on Friday."
The search for him couldn't start that evening owing to bad weather and got under way early on Saturday morning.
Ebbett's body was spotted in the lake at around 9.30am, but in places the lake is bordered by steep ice cliffs.
Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation members climbed down into the crater and traversed about 300m to get to Ebbett. The location and deteriorating weather prevented a helicopter from lifting him out.
Instead, a skifield snow groomer winched him up about 130m to the top of the crater before taking him down the mountain.
"This is a timely reminder to people accessing the backcountry to ensure they have appropriate equipment and experience for the activity, to never go alone and to ensure they advise somebody of their plans," Owen said.