Donald Dennison, husband of Waihemo Community Board chairwoman Kathy Dennison, was the man killed on a rural East Otago property on Saturday.

Mr Dennison, 61, and Mrs Dennison were married for 35 years and had three children.

It was believed Dennison lost control of the 4WD vehicle he was driving on rough terrain and it crashed down a 200m bluff.

He had left the house around 7.45pm to spray gorse on a leased block in the Trotters Gorge area north of Palmerston.


"This was a new block — he had always wanted to have a bit of land," Kathy Dennison said.

"He absolutely loved the outdoors, and his kids ... it's very unfortunate."

A police spokeswoman said Dennison was reported missing about 11pm on Saturday by Kathy Dennison.

Family and friends searched the property and found Dennison's body with the wreckage of the vehicle about 2am, when emergency services were called to the scene.

"Donald had been a hunter all his life — he just loved being out in the hills," Kathy Dennison said.

He had previously worked as a contract fencer, a shearer, and a butcher at the Pukeuri freezing works near Oamaru.

"Working with livestock and farming was something he loved."