Tom Coombes was living a "happy and beautiful life" before it was cruelly cut this week, his family says.
Coombes, 25, was found dead on Tuesday evening on the Roy Clements Treeway, close to Mt Albert Grammar in Auckland.
A 22-year-old man was arrested on Saturday afternoon and charged with murder.
In a statement this afternoon, Coombes' family said he had been walking home from university, where he was studying photography – "following his passion after becoming a qualified builder".
"Tom was living a happy and beautiful life," the statement said.
"He was a keen sportsman, with a genuine interest in and love for his family and many friends.
"His life was taken from him, and from all of us who love him, in a cruel act of violence."
The family hoped the statement might help people track Coombes' movements on Tuesday evening. Anyone with any information should pass it on to police, they said.