Ukraine: Government confirms Kane Te Tai's death

Kane Te Tai had been fighting against Russian forces in Ukraine.

A New Zealand soldier described as "courageous and kind" who died in Ukraine this week has been confirmed by the Government as Kane Te Tai.

He is the third New Zealander to die in Ukraine since the conflict began.

In a statement, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said Ukraine authorities had confirmed Te Tai's death.

"The New Zealand Embassy in Warsaw is in contact with the Ukraine authorities to confirm further details."

The spokesperson said there would be no further information provided for privacy reasons.

Te Tai trained in New Zealand and went to Ukraine voluntarily.

His mother told RNZ Te Tai was an "awesome son, father, uncle and brother".

Just last week he posted a video from Ukraine showing the moment he reunited with his friend who had been held captive for months.

Former defence minister Ron Mark told 1News Te Tai was the sort of solider he'd love to have had in his unit.

"He's mischievous, naughty, professional, committed, courageous.

"I've been sitting here pondering, thinking about him for the last couple of days... humorous but hard, fair and flexible but firm, courageous and kind.

"I like to think we were all there for the right reason and definitely I know Kane was. We're gonna miss him."

In April last year the father of one told TVNZ: “I’m hoping to come back, it will be great to see home again. But if not I’ve had a lot of good times, I’ve met a lot of great people and I’ve got to sort of accept that.”

Te Tai’s friend, veteran Aaron Wood, told TVNZ Te Tai spoke of his personal growth in Ukraine and how he was keen to come home and get back to the real world.

He told Wood he felt he had done good work and was training his replacement.

New Zealand-trained soldier Kane Te Tai.

The two New Zealanders previously been killed in Ukraine were Dominic Abelen, 28, and Andrew Bagshaw, 47, a dual New Zealand and British citizen.

Abelen was on leave without pay from the New Zealand Defence Force when he was killed in Donetsk in August. His body has not been returned to his family.

Bagshaw was killed in the town of Soledar when his car was hit by an artillery shell in January. He was trying to help an older woman escape.

The SafeTravel website stated costs associated with the death of a New Zealand citizen overseas, such as funeral expenses or repatriation of remains to New Zealand, were the responsibility of the family, though travel insurance may cover some or all of the costs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade maintains New Zealanders should not travel to Ukraine.