Mark Inman says if authorities had gone to White Island sooner after last Monday's eruption, he believes the body of his brother, Hayden Marshall-Inman, would have been found.
Inman, along with the family of the other missing victim, Australian teenager Winona Langford, are now waiting for closure - but bad weather on Tuesday delayed the police operation from continuing.
"It is tough - but you've got to stay strong and stay positive and keep hoping one day he'll come home," says Inman.
"We've just got to wait - it's a waiting game."
And it's one he's now all too familiar with. Inman says that immediately after the eruption, his brother was on land.
Local helicopter pilot Tom Storey rescued the survivors and left those who were beyond help, including Inman's brother, in specific spots.
"He's the one that put the bodies where they were. He knows the island better than anyone else," Inman said.
But it was four days before other bodies were recovered. Inman publicly voiced his frustration over the delay and is convinced that during that time rain washed Hayden's body out to sea.
"I still believe time was of the essence and things could have moved a bit quicker," Inman said.
But despite his grief, Inman says sometimes "nature just has its way".
"Hand on my heart, I believe they had the systems in place to do what they needed to do and sometimes nature just has its way," says Inman.
"He loved the volcano, he loved the ocean - we just hope that he doesn't want to stay there forever."
And if he does, Inman says his brother will forever be the guardian of Whakaari.