The family of a keen rugby player who died following a crash near Kurow in North Otago says he made many plans for the future with his family.
Jarrad Ethan Blackler, 23, from Waitaki, was one of six people thrown from the vehicle they were travelling in on the Hakataramea Valley Rd at 12.15am on Sunday.
His family said in a statement that Mr Blackler loved the hills. He had been a shepherd at Haldon Station for five years and had recently returned to his family's farm.
"His mum and dad were loving having Jarrad home and they had made many plans for the future," the family said.
Mr Blackler loved rugby, jet-boating and playing guitar.
His family said Mr Blackler had taught himself to play guitar and would play music for his family and friends.
"We loved nothing more than when Jarrad joined his brothers and sister for a jam session," the family said.
"We would like to thank all those involved with Jarrad's care both at the scene and in hospital and the ongoing support from family, friends and team mates.
"Our thoughts are also with the other people involved in the crash and their families."
Kurow Rugby Club said in a statement that Mr Blackler was "the ultimate rugby player" and would never be forgotten.
"He always did everything with a smile on his face and big bright eyes," the club spokesman said.
"To say he will be missed is a massive understatement. Words cannot express how the team and our supporters are feeling.
"We want his family to know Kurow RFC and Jarrad's teammates will give them all the hugs and support they need. Jarrad will never be forgotten and his family will always be part of our team."
Mr Blackler was travelling with a group of Kurow RFC team mates and supporters to visit friends at the time of the crash.
The 39-year-old man who was driving is in a serious but stable condition in Dunedin Hospital. A 25-year-old man who was a passenger is in a critical condition in Christchurch Hospital.
A man and women, both passengers aged 22, are being treated for moderate injuries in Christchurch Hospital and Timaru Hospital respectively.
A 38-year-old man who was also a passenger has been discharged from hospital and was recovering at home.
Mr Blackler would be farewelled at a private ceremony on Saturday.
Mr Blackler, who was from Pleasant Point, has been remembered by friends on Facebook as an "amazing guy" with a "huge heart and a kind soul".
"You were a one in a million Jarrad Blackler, how the hell we can go on without you, I don't know yet. You have left such a hole in so many of our hearts," read one post.
Mr Blackler attended Waitaki Boys' High School and worked as a shepherd at Haldon Station, a high country station in the Mackenzie Basin.
"I remember when you walked into our life at Haldon five years ago as a pimply, teenager with braces," wrote a co-worker on Facebook.
"I'm struggling to cope with the fact I'll never see your cheeky grin or hear that stellar voice alongside those guitar playing skills again.
"It didn't take long to realise what a hard-working, dedicated, talented and damn right handsome guy you are!"
Following the tragic accident, Canterbury Police urged road users to ensure they used appropriate restraints and safety gear.
The tragedy came a day after the Kurow Rugby Club held a club day and their premier team beat Maheno 42-0.
It was described to the Otago Daily Times by a Kurow rugby identity as "the best game Kurow has played in 20 to 30 years".
"He was what every coach wanted," said Kevin Malcolm, who coached Jarrad Blackler at Kurow Rugby Club.
"His smile and the enjoyment in his eyes was a great source of faith for me that coaching was a great place to be in."
The death of the young player, who he had recently started coaching but had known for years, was "numbing" and the impact on the small South Island community would be long-lasting, Mr Malcolm said.
"A line in the sand has been drawn for us and we have to go forward and it's going to be immensely difficult, but our team has a very solid plan that we're operating by."
The team and club would be gathering tonight to start talking about how Mr Blackler would be remembered, he said.
"We had a goal at the start of the season to make Kurow the country club of choice," he said.
"I'm sure that the team and the club will back me and the community will back me in making sure that we continue along that path."