The husband of a woman who died in a glider crash near Taupō had already taken a trip in the glider and was waiting for his wife to return when the crash happened.

The woman, 43, from Wellington, and a Taupō-based 78-year-old pilot were killed when the glider crashed into Mt Tauhara around 2.45pm on Sunday.

The woman and her husband had been members of the Muslim community in Wellington for about five years.

Tahir Nawaz, the president of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand, said he knew the couple well and the husband was heartbroken.

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He said the pair had emigrated from India roughly five years ago and were holidaying in Taupō for the weekend.

Nawaz said he and the husband had a strong bond and they prayed together multiple times a day.

"He is very calming and has a great personality and everybody loves him.

"She was a very generous person who always supported community projects."

Nawaz said he had also been the celebrant when the couple married.

Tahir Nawaz, the president of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand. Photo / File
Tahir Nawaz, the president of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand. Photo / File

He said the hardest part was not being able to bury the woman promptly as called for under Islamic religious laws.

"It took a while to retrieve the body and now we're not sure how long [the post-mortem] is going to take," he said.

"It's very painful for him and for me as a community leader that we're going through this.

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"I spoke to him and he was in tears we have to wait this long ... It's heartbreaking for him."

The Muslim community has rallied around the husband. As soon as they heard, a number of people travelled from Wellington and Hamilton to support him in Taupō.

"As a community, we've given him our full support ... We will look after the funeral process."

There are about 6000 people in the Wellington Muslim community and the vast majority are connected to Kilbirnie Mosque.

Senior Sergeant Troy Fane told the Rotorua Daily Post accessing the glider was a challenge because the time and location of the crash meant there wasn't enough daylight to safely remove the bodies the day of the crash. The glider had crashed in dense bush.

Mt Tauhara. Photo / File
Mt Tauhara. Photo / File

He confirmed an off-duty police officer was first on the scene and the husband had already taken a trip in the glider and was waiting for his wife to return when the crash happened.

"A paramedic from the helicopter was winched down. He confirmed both occupants were deceased."

Police secured the scene overnight and recovered the bodies on Monday, Fane said.

"Although we had rain and some low cloud, we also had strong winds. We were able to get a team up on the mountain and that came down to the skills of the pilot. The wind was quite adverse."

The bodies were sent to Wellington for post mortem examinations today and would then be returned to the families.

The pilot was a well-known member of the Taupō Gliding Club.

On Sunday, president Tim Norman told the Herald the accident was "tragic and devastating".

"We are devastated by the news," he said.

"The pilot was a friend and a colleague and we are grieving for the family of the passenger".

Norman said he had no idea what caused the crash.

The Tauhara Mountain Trust placed a rāhui on the mountain for five days out of respect for the families, it said.

"This is effective immediately and the trust asks that the public and whānau respect the rāhui," a statement said.

The rāhui will end at sunrise on Saturday.

The circumstances of the crash would be investigated by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission.

Senior communications advisor Simon Pleasants said investigations took on average between 18 months and two years.

"The commission has appointed two investigators. They went up to Taupō yesterday [Monday]. They will be at the site today.

"They will be doing things like measuring and mapping the site, gathering evidence such as ... the integrity of the aircraft, maintenance history, collecting evidence about the physical environment, looking at what type of flight it was."

Pleasants said the glider had been above Mt Tauhara before crashing into the eastern side of the mountain and the investigation would look at why.

He said the purpose of the investigation would be to make recommendations and communicate lessons to prevent future accidents.

The glider will eventually be removed from the mountain and taken to Wellington for further examination.

As formal identification was yet to take place, police would not be releasing any details regarding the deceased at this stage.