A family have been left "gobsmacked by the aroha and support" after work from public servants to find the exact helicopter crash site where a family member died more than 39 years ago.
Jody Stent's brother Richard (Rick) Stent, from Hawke's Bay, died in a helicopter crash near Murupara on August 1, 1981.
Stent said her family was planning a small reunion next year and hoped to fly by helicopter to the steep, hilly crash site to mark the 40th anniversary of his death.
Helicopter pilot Boyd Gare, who was flying the ZK-HQG Hughes 369, was a "good mate" of Rick's and also died in the crash.
The crash was caused by a failure of the main transmission shaft, which was an unapproved ex-military component.
"Rick was only 29 and his death was a huge blow to our parents who were so proud of him," Stent said.
"He was charismatic and had worked in deer recovery in Te Anau before pursuing his dream and gaining his fixed-wing and helicopter licences. He had just started as a pilot in Central Hawke's Bay and when his own helicopter needed repairs, he agreed to help Boyd out, as his shooter recovering deer, for a week or so.
"We will be asking a kaumātua from the local tangata whenua to say a karakia for our whānau, due to it being a significant and spiritual area," she said.
Napier Police District Deployment co-ordinator Andrew Knox took the first call to find information from Stent on November 2 and immediately passed it on to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to help.
The CAA was not very hopeful about finding the exact crash site when it sent an email to its staff. However, the next day safety investigator Lou Child found the hard-copy report on the library shelves, which gave grid references to old Land and Survey maps in the Digital Heritage Archive Library.
The reports dated back before the establishment of the CAA in 1992.
The CAA decided, rather than passing this technical information on, to go the extra mile and ask Land and Information New Zealand (Linz).
LINZ in turn directed the request to cartographer Graeme Jupp to translate the grid references into GPS co-ordinates.
Jupp came back with: "The grid reference of 225 602 places the accident site in the valley of the Whirinaki River, southwest of Paewhakataratara Ridge, 274m above sea level."
He then provided the GPS co-ordinates which could be punched into any cell phone. The CAA is also providing the original accident report to the family this week.
Stent said she greatly appreciated the information and that a team of public servants had joined together to help her family.
"Please pass on my humble thanks to everyone," she said.