They were young, due to be engaged and had their lives ahead of them. Instead Kay Dean and Jürg Meier died tragically on Mount Erebus. Forty years later, their legacy has not been forgotten. Samantha Olley reports.
Jürg Meier was found with an engagement ring in his pocket.
It is believed the 23-year-old planned to propose to girlfriend Kay Dean but it is unclear if he ever did.
The pair had boarded the doomed Air New Zealand Antarctic sightseeing flight TE901 which on November 28, 1979, flew into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 passengers and crew.
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Dean's legacy was remembered on the 40th anniversary of the disaster yesterday in the town she grew up - Reporoa.
Dean had many athletics records at Reporoa College, but it is the cruel end to her life and that of her Swiss husband-to-be which is remembered most at the school.
Yesterday family friends, school staff and Year 7 and 8 pupils gathered to remember the couple as a new memorial display was unveiled.
"Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun and left the vivid air signed with their honour," the plaque reads.
The highlight of the occasion, however, was the announcement of $1.5 million to $2m for the school's education fund.
The fund has previously been known as the Reporoa College Education Trust, but with the new boost of funding from the wills and estate of Kay Dean's parents Peter and Joan Dean, the trust is getting a new name.
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It will now be known as the Peter, Joan and Kay Dean Reporoa Educational Trust.
A family friend of the Deans and fellow trustee Mark Wynyard said the thing that hurt the most about Dean's death was that Peter and Joan were told they couldn't have any more children after she was born.
He said the community rallied around them after the Erebus disaster, "but it didn't take away the pain that they'd lost their only daughter".
"You can do all sorts of things but you can't change what has happened. The long-term effect on Peter and Joan Dean was devastating
"They got on with life, they had to get on with it."
He said Kay had a great, loving relationship with her parents, and when she left home she got a law degree at Victoria University.
Wynyard described her as an "adventurous young lady".
"She joined the army territorials, she was also partway through getting her commercial pilot's licence. She was only 22."
In 2011 Kay's mother made a trip to Scott Base for a Memorial Service for the 257 people who died.
Joan was blind when she visited the crash site, but she later mounted a picture on her mantelpiece of her and the Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe holding hands as they walked across the ice there.
Peter died the next year in 2012 and Joan died at the end of 2017.
Wynyard said Joan was "the brains of the operation of the farm" the couple shared and was one of the founding teachers at Reporoa College where she taught science.
The family legacy also lives on in a forestry block the Deans bought on the Napier-Taupō highway called Kay's Forest.
There are 54ha of pines there and the rest of the land is native bush. The forestry profits are dedicated to supporting the education trust.
Family friend of the Deans and the now Peter, Joan and Kay Dean Reporoa Educational Trust chairman Alan Wills told those at the announcement "this is big".
"There are very few communities in New Zealand that would receive a legacy of this nature."
Wills said Reporoa children would continue to benefit from the trust in 100 years, whether they were going into university study, apprenticeships or any other tertiary education.
"For the pupils of Reporoa College this is huge I think ... We are delighted to do this."
Jürg Meier's sister Annemarie Harris told NZME ahead of this week's anniversary he was updating his electrical qualifications for New Zealand standards ahead of the Erebus flight.
"I believe he did this near Wellington. During this time he met a very special girl, Kay. They shared a passion for anything with fixed wings.
"To celebrate Kay's birthday, the completions of her law studies, Jürg gaining his New Zealand professional certificate and being granted permanent residency, they decided to shout themselves a scenic flight.
"To top things off, an engagement and a future life together had just been sealed with a beautiful pearl ring. This ring is with me and I wear it every year in November. I will pass it on to my youngest son, who I named Toby Jürg."