Hundreds of friends and family members gathered at a memorial service today for 2degrees chief executive Eric Hertz and his wife Kathy.
The couple had been travelling to Timaru to see their daughter Ari when their twin engine Beechcraft Baron plunged into the sea off the coast of Kawhia nearly two weeks ago.
A service was held at the Auckland University of Technology marae, where Mrs Hertz worked.
Director of 2degrees Bill Osborne said Mr Hertz often talked about how proud he was of his daughter.
"We love her through the voice of her father and her mother, who have portrayed the great pride and love they had for Ari. Ari is now part of the 2degrees family, because Eric and Kathy live through her."
Mr Osborne said he and his wife had become close friends with the American couple, who recently joined them at their holiday home in Taupo.
"My wife Pia said to Kathy across the table 'Kathy, when do you think you'll go home...'. Kathy turned and said 'Here, I'm home'. And Eric endorsed that.
"That's how these two people were to us in New Zealand. They've crafted a mixture of different people in 2degrees, of different cultures, from different places, speaking different languages, wanting different things. Eric has created a family culture."
Mrs Hertz, who helped youth prepare for the workforce in her role at the university, was very passionate about the work, he said.
Corporate affairs manager for 2degrees Mathew Bolland said Mr Hertz had an "infectious confidence" about the company.
"When they arrived, we knew we were getting a seasoned, international mobile expert. But Kathy was a bonus. A real bonus."
When the company developed a program to get Maori into the industry, Mrs Hertz provided "great counsel" on how to bring it together.
"Kathy helped us strike a balance on what corporate wants, and what public groups need," he said.
The Civil Aviation Authority is examining the plane wreckage to determine the cause of the crash.