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Paraglider killed in Christchurch named

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/04/2017
James Peter Maaka. © Photo: Facebook/James Peter Maaka James Peter Maaka.

A paraglider killed in a crash in Christchurch's Port Hills has been named by police as a Defence Force firefighter.

Twenty-five-year-old Christchurch man James Peter Maaka was killed after crashing into a road barrier near the top station of the Christchurch Gondola on Tuesday morning.

Canterbury Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club president Dan Campbell told NZ Newswire Mr Maaka was an experienced member of the club who was properly licensed.

"He would have been well within his means to be flying from the site he was flying from," he said, adding the circumstances around the crash were still unclear.

Mr Campbell said the death had been a "hard hit" to the community and the club would be looking to do something to remember Mr Campbell and support his family.

"Honestly, I don't know when we had the last fatality in our club. It was a long time ago ... There's training and certification in place so pilots should be able to fly safety," he said.

A recent video on Mr Maaka's Facebook page shows him paragliding down a hill at Le Bons Bay and lists him as a Defence Force firefighter.

The NZDF said Mr Maaka was a serving member of the Army's Second Engineer Regiment.

"Our thoughts, sympathies and support are with his family and friends at this time," an NZDF spokesperson said in a statement.

A Civil Aviation Authority investigator was at the site on Tuesday and a spokesman said the agency believed there was a witness to the crash.

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