The Tauranga paraglider pilot who died after crashing into Mauao on Saturday, Josh Graeme Tingey, was part of a prize-winning reality TV show team that won TVNZ's Our First Home.

Tingey and fiancee Rebecca Wotton won $100,000 by making the biggest profit, $99,000, doing up a Henderson house which their parents bought for them and sold after the $780,000 do-up in 2016.

The 28-year-old pilot was enjoying his second flight of the day, smiling and happy, a few moments before tragedy struck.

He collided with the rocky face of Mauao during a club day organised by the Bay of Plenty Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club.


"He was having a great flight, he was smiling and happy - everyone was happy. We were all flying around having a great time," hang glider pilot Dave Shaw told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday.

The Bay's hang glider and paraglider fraternity was shattered by the death which happened in perfect flying conditions.

"It was devastating," Shaw said. "He was a very nice kid - it was so tragic."

Shaw described Tingey as experienced, but not overly experienced. "I would class him as a safe pilot."

Tingey and Wotton told the Bay of Plenty Times last year that it did not make sense to buy a house in Auckland and they bought their first home in Tauranga instead.

Tingey, a surveyor, found a job in Tauranga soon after the couple won their prize and he was joined by his partner who saw out her teaching year at Mt Eden. The $100,000 was used as a deposit to buy a house in Brookfield for $500,000.

Wotton said after winning the prize they looked in Auckland for a house and then thought, ''what's the point, it's so expensive to just buy something very small, we'd need to do something with it.''

"My partner's family is from down here (Tauranga) and we thought, why not, there's nothing tying us except our jobs. I love it down here. The traffic is a bit less, we have family closer which is always nice as well, and things are a bit cheaper."

After paying tax, they netted $160,000 from the profit on the Henderson house and their prizemoney.

"That's a huge amount of money, there's no way we would have saved that without going on the show," Wotton said.