A man who died after being struck in the head by a golf ball on a Queenstown course always had time for family and friends, they say.
Almost $10,000 has been raised in a public appeal after Jaden Goldfinch-Brooker, 27, died after a game of golf with friends.
“Jaden was the kind of guy who always had time for family and friends,” his cousin Callum Macbeth told the Herald.
“With his cheeky smile and twisted [sense] of humour he could turn anyone’s day into a great one.”
Goldfinch-Brooker, also known as “Jumbo”, played halfback for Spotswood United Rugby Football Club in New Plymouth.
“[He] was an absolute mongrel on the field,” Macbeth said.
“He was a great rugby player and a good friend to all.
“We are all going to miss him dearly. RIP jumbo.”
His partner Dominique Fry said in a social media post he was her “entire world”.
“My boy. My entire world. I’ll love you til the day I die.”
It is understood Goldfinch-Booker was playing golf with friends at Frankton Golf Course on Saturday, February 17, when he was struck by the ball near the second tee.
He was rushed to Dunedin Hospital and placed in an induced coma in ICU as doctors worked to save his life and control a brain bleed.
Family and his partner remained at his bedside but he did not survive.
A death notice for the Taranaki native, who was understood to be living in Queenstown, was published late last week.
He had “died as the result of a tragic accident”, it said.
“Our boy has passed, at peace with his world. Our worlds are totally shattered. He was the boy with the biggest heart that lit every room with his contagious smile and warmed their hearts.
“The angels just got too jealous of how much fun he created in this world.”
The notice asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the “Jaden Jumbo” Givealittle page.
The page has been set up to reunite Goldfinch-Booker’s family members, and several donors have opened up about the type of person he was.
The page has so far raised more than $9300.
One donor said “So sad, a real privilege to have caught up and shared so briefly some time and laughs with a great guy”.
Donors Codey and Jessie, said it all felt like a “bad dream”.
“Well my bro I can’t believe this has happened it still feels like a bad dream to me. Going to miss you so much jumbo …”
Donors Lil and Luke said they would miss his laugh and “hilarious stories”.
“What a quiet place Queenstown will be without you.”
Police were investigating the death on behalf of the coroner.
Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said he had not “overseen a case like this in my career”.
“This is a shock and a tragedy for the family and friends of the man, and for those who were present at the time,” Inglis said.
The golf course is owned by the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
A council spokesman declined to answer questions about the tragedy, directing correspondence to the coroner’s office.
The funeral for Goldfinch-Booker takes place in New Plymouth on Wednesday.