Defence minister Phil Goff is grieving for his nephew killed in action in Afghanistan, whilst serving for the US army wing of the International Security Assistance Force.
Lieutenant Matthew Ferrara was born in the US but holds dual New Zealand-United States citizenship and was the son of Goff's sister Linda.
In yesterdays attack, Ferrara was ambushed by the Taliban while on a foot patrol in the high mountains of eastern Afghanistan.
Officials say he was returning from a meeting with village elders when hit by grenades and gunfire.
In one of the worst single attacks suffered by NATO forces in Afghanistan, six troops were killed.
Ferrara had been in Afghanistan for around five months.
Goff was too raw to talk about the death but in a statement said his nephew was a decent young man, loved by his family, and was one of four nephews serving in the US Army.
Helen Clark was quick to pass on her condolences, saying it was a tragic event that had happend.
Violence in Afghanistan has steadily escalated since the Taliban relaunched their insurgency two years ago.
More than 6000 people have been killed since then.
Ferrara's funeral will be held in Los Angeles at the end of the week.