The grief-stricken father of a talented Bay teen found dead in a ditch after being arrested, has said his son was a "special man" and a "wonderful friend".
Former Tauranga Boys' College academic captain and top sportsman Nick Renouf, 19, was found in Christchurch's South Hagley Park on Thursday.
The University of Canterbury student was arrested for breaching a liquor ban the night before. Police released him later that night with a pre-charge warning.
His Western Bay parents, Peter and Julie Renouf, travelled to Christchurch yesterday, with his brother and sister.
Mr Renouf said his son would be missed deeply.
"We are sitting down at the spot he died and there are 20 guys on the bank," Mr Renouf told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, referring to some of his son's friends and flatmates paying their respects.
"He was a real special man, really loved."
Mr Renouf said although Nick had done well academically he "was more than that".
"Obviously he was an academic but he was an all-rounder, a very, very keen sportsman. Everyone loved him, [he was] a wonderful friend."
Mrs Renouf works as a physiotherapist at Tauranga Boys' College, and Nick's brother, Tom, a Year 10 student at the school, captains its junior cricket team.
Principal Robert Mangan said the school community would "really feel the loss".
"It's very close to the heart of the school," he said.
Mr Mangan invited Nick back to the school last year as a guest speaker to help inspire other young students.
Nick achieved six scholarships when he left in 2010 to study engineering. Of these, two were achieved on an outstanding level - one for statistics and one for calculus.
Mr Mangan said Nick was a premier sportsman, involved heavily in hockey and passionate about cricket.
"I know in the early days he had aspirations to make the Black Caps."
It would be unfair to judge Nick on his arrest the night before he died, Mr Mangan said.
"Nick was a young man in his third year at university and not even 20.
"There was a certain amount of peer pressure on him to be involved in what other 20-year-olds are doing."
Superintendent Andy McGregor said Nick was processed at the Christchurch Central custody unit and released with a pre-charge warning about 10.40pm.
"We have reviewed the process and interviewed officers who dealt with Mr Renouf, and there is no indication that he was impaired in any way."
It was believed Mr Renouf made his own way from the station.
The case has been referred to the coroner.
Nick's grandmother, Mary Renouf, said he had been a quiet and studious child growing up but became more outgoing in his late teenage years.
"He was a good lad. I had a good talk with him when he was up at Christmas time. I'm really sad, he's been so good," she said.
"Nick was a brilliant student and I think he had just been offered a job for when he finished university. I cannot believe he is gone, it's such a waste of life.
"It's come as a complete shock. We are all totally devastated and just wish things could be different.
"His loss is going to leave such a big hole in the family. We are all pulling together and my sister, who lost her daughter, has been staying with me and we have been comforting each other."