The family of a teenager who died after becoming trapped behind a waterfall have spoken of the huge hole his death has left in their lives.
Dion Latta, 15, died in Dunedin Hospital early on Monday from suspected hypothermia and shock after he was left hanging upside down for three hours behind Motatapu waterfall with his leg wedged between rocks.
His parents, Logan and Sue, and older brother Cody issued a statement this afternoon saying the messages of goodwill and support from throughout the country, "especially from friends, family and the John McGlashan College community, have been overwhelming. These messages have not gone unnoticed and are appreciated''.
They spoke of a lively, sporty young man from a rural background who packed many things into his short life, which he lived to the full. "He loved farming, fishing, hunting, rugby and running. It was his courage and determination that made him such a talented all rounder.
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"His passing leaves a huge hole in our lives. He is irreplaceable and will always be missed.''
The Lattas requested privacy as they mourned Dion's death and asked the media not to attend his funeral.
Dion had been a boarder at Dunedin's John McGlashan College where he was a champion rugby player and runner and represented Otago in the New Zealand cross-country championships.