The Whangarei friends of Bryce Jourdain have banded together to provide for his family and preserve the legacy of a "selfless hero".
Mr Jourdain, an outdoor instructor with Taranaki company TOpec, dived into heavy swells last week in an attempt to rescue two students who fell into the sea during a rock-climbing trip near New Plymouth.
Despite extensive searches of the surrounding coastline, Mr Jourdain and the students have not been found and are presumed drowned. The tragedy has been felt particularly hard in Whangarei, where Mr Jourdain and his family worked, trained and lived for several years.
Before moving to New Plymouth, he worked as an outdoor recreation tutor at NorthTec. His wife, Robyn, is from Whangarei but lives now in New Plymouth with their children, Issac and Grace.
Dean Aplin was Mr Jourdain's tutor at NorthTec when he first decided to train as an outdoor instructor in 2006. Later, the two frequently worked together on jobs throughout Northland.
Mr Jourdain's final actions were "selfless","heroic" and totally in character, Mr Aplin said.
"He was a hero, doing what he did, taking his commitment to that ultimate, selfless put-others-first kind of way."
Mr Jourdain had been passionate about his work and committed to his family.
The esteem in which he was held by his Whangarei friends and colleagues had prompted them to respond to his loss in a practical manner, Mr Aplin said. A group of friends decided to open a memorial fund to provide financial support for the family.
"To replicate a little bit of his selflessness and giving feels like the right thing to do."
The Bryce Jourdain Memorial Fund account number is 03 1353 0230244 00.
People wishing to contact the organisers can do so via the email address: email@example.com