Authorities have called off a search for a Department of Conservation volunteer missing at Raoul Island after sweeps of the area turned up no sign of the man - identified as a Romanian citizen.
Sea and air searches since Monday had failed to find 33-year old Mihai Muncus-Nagy after he went missing from Fishing Rock about 6am on Monday while carrying our routine monitoring on the island in the remote Kermadec group.
It was believed Mr Muncus-Nagy may be have been washed off the rock by a wave.
"Given the length of time that has now passed without finding Mihai, it's unfortunately now gone beyond the point where he could reasonably still be expected to be alive.
Therefore, in discussions with [the Rescue Co-ordination Centre], the difficult decision has been made to formally suspend the search,'' DoC Warkworth Great Barrier Island area manager Tim Brandenburg said.
"Our hearts and thoughts are now with his family in Romania.''
Support was being given to Mr Muncus-Nagy's family in Romania, who had accepted that he was unlikely to have survived. Plans were being considered to bring Mr Muncus-Nagy's wife to New Zealand so she could visit Raoul Island if she wished.
DoC staff had also found the loss hard to accept, Mr Brandenburg said.
"Everyone involved has found this a difficult time, trying to keep the search and hope going, but then having to accept that the outcome is not going to be good. We are devastated to think we have lost a dedicated conservationist like Mihai.''
RCCNZ search mission co-ordinator Greg Johnston offered the organisation's deepest sympathies to the man's family.
"We also acknowledge everyone involved in the search, including staff from DoC, the police and Bay of Plenty Helicopter Services for their efforts.''
Mr Johnston said the search could be resumed if any new information came to light.
Mr Muncus-Nagy joined the team on the island at the end of October, fulfilling a dreams to go to Raoul Island.
His mountaineering experience and ability to work in small teams in the outdoors made him a good fit for the work involved.
"We do know Mihai was very happy to have the opportunity to contribute to the programme on the island. He was passionate about his work, both as a volunteer for the department and as a ranger back in Romania. His workmates on Raoul tell me he was a popular, fun loving and capable person - and a joy to have around. He will be hugely missed,'' Mr Brandenburg said.
Mr Muncus-Nagy was one of four volunteers helping three DoC staff who monitor seismic and volcanic activity and conduct conservation work to protect the more than 100 plants native to the Kermadecs.
Doc will review its volunteer programme as a result of the incident.
"As part of the investigation all the aspects of the programme there will be reviewed. If we have learnings from the review that would help us to make our staff safer, we will certainly be implementing those.''
DoC was not reviewing having volunteers on the island: ``it's a very important part of the programme, we get a lot of interest in it.''
He said there were "good'' procedures around the programme.
DoC worker Mark Kearney, 33, disappeared during a volcanic explosion on the island in 2006. He is believed to have died when a crater lake erupted as he was checking its water temperature. His five colleagues were rescued.