Friends and family will say goodbye to a conservation legend today.
Department of Conservation (DoC) senior ranger Scott Theobald was one of three killed nearly two weeks ago in a helicopter crash in Wanaka.
- Pilot Nick Wallis killed in Wanaka helicopter crash just months after brother Matt Wallis' death
- Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage confirms DoC staff on-board helicopter in fatal crash
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says there was more than 100 years experience between all three victims.
"That loss is huge, because it was real practical skills in the mountain lands and the forests, working with dogs, hunting, that is very difficult to replace," she said.
Ms Sage pointed out Mr Theobald's experience with dogs, as he was instrumental in the creation of DoC predator dogs.
"Scott pioneered the use of conservation dogs which are now used to help keep predators off islands, to sniff out biosecurity risks," she said.
DoC director general Lou Sanson said Mr Theobald's work had been incredibly helpful for predator control efforts in New Zealand and internationally.
"He went on to help New Caledonia, Japan with mongoose, the predator dogs came from Scott's work and working out how to get dogs to chase stoats and rats," he said.
Mr Sanson says a further tribute to the three killed is likely.
A private service for Mr Theobald is being held near Mount Cook today with another in Northland at the weekend.