An Air NZ steward who attended a wedding reception that mushroomed into one of the country's biggest Covid-19 clusters says he is "deeply upset" by the outbreak.
The bride and groom and many of their 70 guests became unwell in the days and weeks after the wedding at Bluff's Oyster Cove Restaurant and Bar on March 21.
The wedding took place before gatherings of more than 100 people were banned, and the man said he was not unwell during the reception but was believed to be asymptomatic and potentially carrying the virus.
He had reportedly returned from a trip overseas in the week before the wedding.
The man has now issued a short statement through Air NZ, saying he followed recommended cabin crew guidelines while at work.
"Air New Zealand's employee, as all operating cabin crew, adhered to the Ministry of Health's guidance which includes hygiene and PPE measures," the statement said.
"Our colleague is deeply upset by what has happened and the implication in comments published in the media that he did anything wrong."
Air crew are - and were at the time of the wedding - exempt from self-isolating after arriving back from working overseas, as long as they adhere to strict MoH guidelines regarding hygiene and PPE use, an Air NZ spokesman said.
The fallout from the wedding cases became more serious late last week when a Wellington man, who attended the wedding was confirmed to have officially died on April 10 after contracting the virus.
Media outlet Stuff reported the man was Chrisanthos (Christo) Tzanoudakis, 87, who was the father of the groom.
He was the third person in New Zealand to die from the virus.
A source who did not want to be named earlier told the Herald an Air New Zealand flight attendant had said at the wedding he returned to New Zealand from a work flight from the United States just days before.
He was said to be gargling salt water at the Sunday after party.
An Air New Zealand spokesman said the cabin crew member did not fall ill until arriving home from the wedding. He had gargled salt water at the Sunday after-party to ease discomfort due to a dental issue.
The Herald has learned he went on special leave from his job about March 25.
The bride has said she and her husband learned of the outbreak on March 26 when a guest told them he had tested positive to Covid-19.
The flight attendant has not responded to the Herald's emails requesting comment.
The bride told the Herald she didn't want to discuss the matter. She earlier said no guests came from overseas.
The wedding cluster cases later grew rapidly after guests travelled home to various parts of the country with significant numbers testing positive in Wellington and Waikato.