For years, Hayden Marshall-Inman balanced his seasonal jobs between the northern and southern hemispheres.

The New Zealand native traveled to Maine in the summer to work at the YMCA Camp of Maine in Winthrop and returned home to work the summer season there as a tour guide for White Island Tours, taking visitors to White Island, an active volcano that sits in the Bay of Plenty off the north shore of New Zealand.

On Monday, Marshall-Inman was killed when a tour he was leading to the island was caught in an eruption.

News accounts say that he was one of six people killed. Another eight people are believed to have died, with their bodies remaining on the ash-covered island for now. And 30 people remain hospitalized, including 25 in critical condition. Many of the injured suffered severe burns.

The impact of the eruption also is being felt 9,000 miles away in Maine, where people remember Marshall-Inman as friendly, self-confident and outgoing, but also brave and tough.

Barry Costa, who was the Maine State YMCA director and director of YMCA Camp of Maine until 2015, first hired an 18-year-old Marshall-Inman when Costa worked for Camp Jordan. When Costa started working at the YMCA Camp of Maine, Marshall-Inman followed him.


Marshall-Inman started as a general counselor and took on more responsible jobs over the years at the camp on Cobbossee Lake, serving as waterfront director and director of programming. He ran the leader-in-training program to train junior leaders in camp and was troop leader, taking older campers out on trips across Maine.

“He was kind of like my son,” Costa said Tuesday from his home in Lewiston. “We were very close to him. He was just a remarkable person.”

Julia Gustafson, left, and Hayden Marshall-Inman are photographed on a boat heading to White Island off the coast of New Zealand in 2016. Marshall-Inman, who worked summers in central Maine for more than a decade, was killed Monday when the White Island volcano erupted while he was leading a tour on the island.

Sisters Julia and Abigail Gustafson met Marshall-Inman through the camp.

Abigail Gustafson dated him for about a year. After the break-up, she said Marshall-Inman remained close to her family.

“He had friends all over the world who loved him and who he loved,” she said.

He traveled to the United States to attend Julia Gustafson’s 2011 wedding. When Gustafson and her husband moved to New Zealand for a year, Marshall-Inman showed them around his country.


“He knew all the spots, and all the best waterfalls,” she said.

While they were there, Gustafson said she took a trip with Marshall-Inman to White Island, also called Whakaari, to see the volcano, the island nation’s largest active volcano.

“It’s currently active, but it’s not always exploding,” she said, noting that among the safety requirements were gas masks.

Even so, seismic monitoring experts had raised the volcano’s alert level last month and the tragedy left many people questioning why tourists were still allowed to visit the island as part of trips offered to tourists and cruise line passengers with prices starting at over $200 per person.

“These questions must be asked, and they must be answered,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in Parliament.

New Zealand’s Deputy Police Commissioner John Tims said Tuesday that police were opening a criminal investigation into the deaths that would accompany an investigation by health and safety regulators.


But hours later, police put out a statement saying that while they were investigating the deaths on behalf of the coroner, “To correct an earlier statement, it is too early to confirm whether there will also be a criminal investigation.”

Marshall-Inman had survived a previous tragedy three years ago, Julia Gustafson said. On the day she and her husband arrived in New Zealand they saw on the news that he had been on a boat that caught fire.

“He basically saved everyone,” she said. “He was in the boiler room when it exploded. There’s a photo of him diving into the water. It really shook him up. And having this happen three years later is shocking and upsetting. He would have stayed to help people.”

New Zealander Hayden Marshall-Inman, center, met Julia Gustafson, left, and Abigail Gustafson through the YMCA Camp of Maine, where he worked for many summers. He is seen here at Julia Gustafson’s 2011 wedding.

At camp, his fearlessness was renowned, Julia Gustafson said, particularly when snapping turtles were seen in or around the swimming area.

“Hayden would dive into the water for the most ridiculous amount of time,” she said, “and he would come up out of the water with the snapping turtle over his head and move it.”

“We had a code on the walkie-talkies when a turtle would enter the cove,” Costa said. “The next thing you knew, he would be standing up out of the water with a snapping turtle over his head. He had no fear.”


Charlotte Cooney met Marshall-Inman in 2008 when she was 11 and attending camp. Over the next eight or nine years, she became a counselor-in-training and a counselor at the camp. During that time, she learned a lot from him.

“He was really in tune with people’s emotions, and he was very good at acknowledging when people needed a break,” Cooney said, because overnight camp can be tiring for the counselors over the course of an entire summer.

He was also good at conflict resolution, she said.

“I had never been able to see a grown man settle a fight between teenage girls about a boy,” Cooney said.

As one of the international counselors, he shared his love of his native New Zealand at International Nights.

“When you hire someone from an international country, you want them to bring that influence in the camp,” Coasta said. “He did that in the most sincere way.”


Marshall-Inman also shared his love for the All Blacks rugby team, which famously starts its matches with a haka, a ceremonial Maori dance or challenge. He taught that haka to the campers as well as some Maori words.

Costa said Marshall-Inman, who was about the same age as his two sons,  has been planning to travel to Maine next summer to visit.

“He always kept in touch,” he said. “He was part of the family.”


Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: