Te Papa chief executive Seddon Bennington and his tramping partner Rosie Jackson died of hypothermia while tramping.
That's the finding of the Chief Coroner, Judge Neil MacLean, after post-mortems on Dr Bennington, 61, and Ms Jackson, 54, whose bodies were found by searchers on Wednesday.
They had set out from Otaki Forks on Saturday for an overnight tramp but were caught in freezing conditions a kilometre short of a hut in the Tararua ranges.
A tribute and condolence book is open at the museum in Wellington and on Te Papa's website.
Dr Bennington's two sons were due to arrive in Wellington from Australia on Friday; family members will discuss his funeral plans on Saturday.
Details of Ms Jackson's funeral will be published in newspapers on Saturday.