White dove-shaped helium balloons were released at a memorial for the victims of the Carterton balloon tragedy yesterday, but a tribute flight by relatives was postponed a second time.

Relatives of the 11 people who died two months ago were due to take off as part of a mass ascension to mark the opening of the Balloons Over Wairarapa festival.

The flights were postponed on Thursday because of biting wind, low cloud and rain.

Strong winds kept the craft grounded again yesterday but the hot air balloons were inflated before a ceremony to remember the dead, which Carterton Mayor Ron Mark said was "very poignant".


Those killed in the crash were pilot Lance Hopping, 53, of Masterton; Howard Cox, 71, and Diana Cox, 63, of Wellington; Desmond Dean, 70, and Ann Dean, 65, of Masterton; cousins Valerie Bennett, 70, of Masterton and Denise Dellabarca, 58, of Paraparaumu; partners Stephen Hopkirk, 50, and Belinda Harter, 49, of Lower Hutt; and Johannes Jordann, 21, and Alexis Still, 19, of Wellington.