The 11-year old boy who was fatally shot during a hunting trip yesterday has been described as a great leader and an amazing sportsman
Connor Brian Phillips was shot as an adult unloaded a firearm in a remote area of the Kaingaroa Forest, northeast of Taupo.
The hunting party were in a remote part of the forest, which lies north-east of Taupo.
Connor attended Reporoa School.
In a statement the school's Board of Trustees said the school and the community were saddened by the tragic loss of a valued student.
It said Connor was loved and respected by his peers and would be dearly missed by the whole school community.
"He was a great school leader and an amazing sportsman."
Rotorua Lakes District Deputy Mayor David Donaldson said Reporoa was a small, tight-knit community where hunting was a popular pastime.
He said most people were aware of the risks and would be feeling shocked by what had happened.
The police said they examined the scene yesterday and were speaking to a number of people as part of their investigation.
A post-mortem was to be carried out today but police said they would not be disclosing the outcome of the post-mortem or making further comment until their investigation was concluded.
The president of the Deerstalkers Association said simple safety rules were hammered into people on practical deerhunting courses.
Bill O'Leary told Checkpoint the rules included being taught to turn away from the rest of a hunting party while unloading, so the firearm is pointed in a safe direction.
"I had gathered that the party had come back to a vehicle and a firearm was being unloaded."