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Son of man who died on Tongariro Crossing expresses thanks for Māori respect

The son of a man who died suddenly on the Tongariro Crossing on Friday says his family will always have a spiritual connection to the mountain.

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Gerd Wilde suffered a fatal heart attack during the walk. Source: 1 NEWS

Gerd Wilde suffered a fatal heart attack during the walk, and his son Simon Wilde says he's been overwhelmed by the response since.

The 75-year-old was battling cancer and undertaking a round-the-world bucket list trip when he lost his life on the mountain.

“I've talked to friends who knew him over the years, and they said it was so typical of my dad. He loves nature, he loves freedom, he could never die in an hospital,” Mr Wilde’s son, Simon, told 1 NEWS.

“On the one hand, it’s very deeply sad about this moment, but on the other side, very glad and thankful that he died on this beautiful place on Tongariro mountain.”

Despite efforts by nearby tourists, his father couldn't be saved.

Simon's been amazed and gratified by the respect of the Māori customs.

“I couldn't understand what they were talking because of the language, but I had the impression that they really talked deeply, very honest and very spiritual about this topic and helped my dad leave his special place.”

The rāhui on Tongariro was lifted this morning.

Simon will return to Germany on Wednesday and his father’s body will follow a few days later. Then there will be a funeral service in Berlin.