Police have named the Canterbury University student who died in the Christchurch suburb of Riccarton yesterday morning.
He was Sam Finnemore, a 19-year-old from Auckland, who studied geology.
In a statement, Finnemore's family said they were devastated to learn of his death on Matipo Street just two days before his 20th birthday.
He was an only child who loved life and competitive snowboarding. He was a happy person who would be celebrated and remembered fondly, the family said.
"Sam was a loving only child of Cameron and Lisa who live in Auckland, and beloved cousin, nephew and grandson of family in Christchurch, Tauranga and London... He loved uni and recently turned his studies to geology, a subject he discovered only after coming to Canterbury," their statement said.
"He was well-liked, happy, and he cherished time with his many friends in Auckland, Christchurch and Wanaka. Sam loved life, was always happy. We celebrate him and will remember him fondly.
"The family express their thanks to the community that are supporting them through this difficult time, and express their gratitude to the New Zealand Police and the University of Canterbury, which was Sam's home away from home."
Detective Senior Sergeant Damon Wells said police were continuing to treat Finnemore's death as unexplained.
"A post mortem was carried out today and our enquiries are ongoing. Police would like to offer our deepest thoughts and sympathies to Sam's family. We are so sorry for their loss."
Kristen School, which Finnemore formerly attended, also issued a statement acknowledging his tragic death.
Executive principal Mark Wilson said the school wanted to pass their condolences on to his family.
"Sam was a much-liked student and member of our school community. He was a very talented snowboarder, who worked hard to achieve both academically and in his sporting endeavours," Wilson said.
"Sam's loss will be felt very deeply by many in our school community and we are looking to support these families in any way we can."