The farm worker who died in a house fire on Saturday night had just become engaged.
Hamish Allan, 28, died at a Mickleson's Rd property at Utiku, near Taihape, about 10.30pm on Saturday.
A fire-safety investigator was yesterday still at the scene of the fire, as was the farmer who owns the cottage and was Mr Allan's employer. He said the tragedy was too devastating to talk about.
Local people said Mr Allan's partner, in her mid-20s, was from Taihape and had family there.
"The couple had just got engaged," one woman said.
Mr Allan and his partner were in the house when the fire broke out. Taihape Constable Tony Lomas said a "good Samaritan was passing" and noticed smoke and flames coming from the house.
"He entered the house and woke Mr Allan's partner."
Mr Lomas said the woman managed to exit the house with her cat, and the man went back in for Mr Allan but was unable to get him to safety because of the flames.
Mr Allan was a Poverty Bay-East Coast junior golf representative.