Teen lifeguard Hamish Rieger has been farewelled by close to 1000 friends and family members at a requiem mass held at St Thomas More Catholic Church.

Lining the entrance to the church was a sea of yellow and red, a guard of honour to farewell the 17-year-old who was swept to sea on Saturday.

Hamish's charm, cheekiness and giving nature were remembered at the mass in a church jam-packed with people. The church's foyer and outside entrance had to be used so all who loved Hamish could be there at his goodbye.

There was not a dry eye in sight as Hamish's Mount Maunganui College school friends and fellow lifeguards broke out into a passionate haka before his casket was carried away on the back of an IRB towed by a ute.

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A requiem mass held at St Thomas More Catholic Church for Hamish Rieger. Photo/Andrew Warner
A requiem mass held at St Thomas More Catholic Church for Hamish Rieger. Photo/Andrew Warner

Police officers in formal dress with police dogs were part of the guard of honour.

Tomorrow, a tribute will be held for Hamish Rieger before the surf lifesaving Eastern Regional Championships begin on Mount Main Beach at 7.30am.