Ben Harding was a hard worker and a God-fearing man who loved his wife and children with all his heart.
He also loved mountain biking but it was his passion for the outdoors and adventure that took his life on Saturday when he died while riding his bike.
Harding's body was found by a member of the public on Saturday morning on a grade four trail called Mini DH, near Nursery Rd, in the popular mountain biking park in the Whakarewarewa Forest.
His family were now trying to come to terms with the loss of a man who sadly died doing what he loved.
Police have said his death has been referred to the coroner.
The father of three was an environmental technician for Niwa in Rotorua.
A family spokeswoman said he was a keen mountain biker who rode in the Whakarewarewa Forest regularly.
"He was a God-fearing man, full of fun and full of integrity. He was a bloke's bloke who loved adventure and outdoors. He also loved his wife and kids with all his heart."
Niwa North Island field team group manager Wayne McGrath, who was Harding's boss, said the close-knit team at the Rotorua office was devastated.
He said Harding started with Niwa in 2006 in Whangārei before moving to another position in Tūrangi. He was then promoted to the Rotorua office in 2011.
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McGrath said Harding's role as an environmental technician saw him monitoring stream flows and rain falls and construction work including building recorder stations.
"He absolutely loved the outdoors and was much happier when he got to work outside. He was a wonderful worker. He would do everything even if it meant going over time. He was very conscientious and needed to make sure the job was done 100 per cent."
McGrath said there was only eight members of the Rotorua Niwa team and his death would leave a big gap in the office.
"It has been a major shock. We are all devastated."
McGrath said Harding loved mountain biking and he had chosen to get trained in the sport through a work-place scheme.
"Niwa has training leave for workers where the company pays for training to do something outside of work. Ben took that up by doing mountain bike training. He would also volunteer at Crankworx. He was always biking or running to work."
McGrath said what they'd miss most of all was Harding's cheerful start to the day as he came though the door.
Rotorua's mountain biking community was also reeling at the news one of their own had died.
Rotorua Mountain Bike Club life member Dave Donaldson said the hearts of the mountain biking community went out to Harding's family.
"The mountain biking community are saddened by this loss in what appears to be an unfortunate accident."
Donaldson said the club did all it could to minimise risk, including keeping trails well maintained, sign posting the grade levels for riders and supporting the first response team, which is a group of about 40 riders who work on a roster basis patrolling the forest to help in medical emergencies.
He said sadly sometimes sports such as mountain biking ended in tragedy.
"On occasions people worry about mountain biking but when you compared it to swimming and fishing it is no worse. We can't live in a bubble. The only consolation I guess is he died doing something he loved."
He said if anything could be learned from Harding's death, it was to remind people to take up the use of apps and other technology when you rode alone, Donaldson said.
"But we talk about these things with a heavy heart. It is gut wrenching for the family and our hearts and thoughts go out to them at this sad time.
Harding's funeral is being held on Saturday at 11am at Living Well Church.