The death of a soldier following a four -hour armed stand-off has left the small military town of Linton in shock.
The local community was reeling today as it began to come to terms with the tragedy which left a young soldier dead, the second in just two weeks.
Private Alexander Stuart Rope, 23, died after barricading himself into the camp's private residential area with a weapon.
Rope is believed to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time, and is reported to have recently spit up with his girlfriend.
Today residents in Linton said the death has hit them hard, coming just a week after Linton-based soldier, Private Mike Ross, drowned in a lake during a training exercise.
He was buried today near Kaitaia.
"Having it happen in our own community has hit hit home quite bad," said Akeila Araroa-Waerea.
Another local woman, Lorna Waerea, said: "For me personally it was pretty devastating to find out in the end that this soldier had passed away."
The New Zealand Defence Force said the spate of recent deaths is taking its toll on soldiers' morale.
"It does impact us because we are a small country, a small army, small defence force, so often we know each guy or we know where they come from," Colonel Chris Parsons, head of Linton military camp, said.
The police have refused to comment on reports that Rope was charged with drink driving the night before his death, on the grounds that the case is now before the coroner.
But they are investigating the incident in order to get a clearer picture of what happened in the days leading up to his death.
Meanwhile, the Defence Force is encouraging personnel to support each other as investigations continue into this latest tragedy.
Rope's family today said they do not wish to comment on the incident, and have asked for privacy.
Private Rope, originally from Wanganui, joined the Army in 2008 and was posted to the First Battalion at Linton after finishing training.
More than 20 armed police officers plus negotiators attended the incident yesterday morning, but after several hours with no communication with Rope, they entered the house to find him dead.
Neighbours said the man had recently broken up with his
girlfriend, and is believed to have been drinking before he was
picked up by a colleague from Palmerston North at 1am and taken
back to the house.