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Andrew Christian Ross Craig, 46, died in hospital, two days after the bus he was driving was buried by a falling building.
The Sumner-airport bus was in Colombo St when the quake struck.
At his funeral on March 3, family friend Nick said Andrew had helped others from the bus after the earthquake.
"We will never know exactly what happened on February 22 at 12.51, but we know he helped everyone off the bus. He was the last one off bus number 702."
Another friend, Russ Lewis, said Andrew was born on October 5, 1964 in Nelson and grew up in Hanmer Springs.
He had a diploma in horticulture from Lincoln University and had been a driver for Red Bus - the council-owned bus company - for 10 years.
"We know he very much enjoyed being a bus driver," said Mr Lewis.
"It suited the kind of person he was. He used to stop his bus so customers could buy fruit and veges with him."
Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe said Andrew was a well-regarded professional.
"He was a nice man... That would be a good summary of him."