An angel on a very fast motorcycle ... that's how a friend described student Tarun Asthana who died after being assaulted in Auckland last week.
The 25-year-old was farewelled by more than 1000 people at Christ the King Catholic Church in Owairaka yesterday, many wearing red to recognise Tarun's bright and bubbly personality.
Tarun, a trainee teacher, was punched while standing in the street in downtown Britomart early on Saturday, November 3, and died in hospital three days later.
Navy sailor Grenville David McFarland has been charged with assault, and police say more serious charges are likely.
Mourners yesterday prayed for McFarland and his family.
Tarun's mother, Yvette, hoped her son's death would be a "turning point for many".
"As a mother, I worried about Tarun day and night and my worst fears came true when I received that fateful call from the hospital telling me Tarun was in a critical condition," she said.
"This is the fear that all parents go through when their child does not return at an appropriate time.
"It's not okay to take your family for granted. So when you go home tonight, thank your parents and tell them how much you love them, and parents likewise."
His sister Tarika described Tarun as someone with an "art for living".
"If I can put my hand on a Bible and swear somebody can live life in the moment, one day at a time, it's my brother, Tarun. He lived life for today, he loved life for today and I know he was happy when he went away."
Family friend Michael Kidd acted as Tarun's lawyer after he was caught speeding on his motorcycle.
Kidd said he referred Tarun to a psychologist, who diagnosed "hypersensitivity".
"Well I knew that, I think we all know that," Kidd said.
"I really felt that he came from God and that he was an angel in many ways - an angel who drives a motorbike very fast, an angel who's a DJ, an angel who's an excellent teacher. God comes in many forms."
Other friends joked at being uncomfortable about photographs being taken at the funeral, but Tarun wouldn't have minded in the least.