The parents of one of two teenagers who drowned in the Waitakere Ranges over the weekend have paid tribute to a fun-loving and cheeky son who loved the outdoors.

Tracey and Mike Woolley said the 17-year-old and his twin brother, Denver, had spent the day with their friends in the ranges, surrounded by bush - which he lived in and loved.

The group of friends got into trouble after a sudden downpour led to flash flooding in the area on Saturday afternoon.

Three of the group were swept downstream, while the other two made it to the river bank and raised the alarm.

Advertisement

Mitch had recently returned from a school football trip to Germany and was due to start a new chapter in his life after deciding to leave school.

"Mitch was taken from us at a time when the world was just opening up to him, having just left Massey High School and about to commence an apprenticeship as a marine engineer,'' they said in a statement.

"He had worked from the finish of the school year at a local business and was about to start his journey.''

They described their boy as a keen surfer and a young person with a great personality.

"He was always the cheeky and fun-loving entertainer in any group.

"Mitch's infectious personality always ensured that there was a smile on the faces of family, friends and those that happened to meet him.''

The Woolley family thanked emergency services and members of the Waitakere Golf Club "for bringing our boys home'' and also paid tribute to their son's friend, Sosi Turagaiviu, who also drowned in the incident.

"The family would like Sosi's family to know they are thinking of them.

Advertisement

"The boys spent many good times together.''