A Northland community has come to a standstill this morning to farewell Anne Talijancich.
Hundreds of locals and emergency service workers attended an 11am funeral service at Dargaville Baptist Church to celebrate the life of volunteer firefighter Ms Talijancich, 43, who died in a road crash on Saturday.
A fleet of fire engines and ambulances were parked in front of the church, and the main hall was so busy a special overflow room in another part of the building was set up, with a live video link of the ceremony beamed in from the adjoining room.
Ms Talijancich, her partner, Kevin Rowland, and their two children were travelling in their car when it clipped the end of a bridge on Pouto Rd.
Ms Talijancich died at the scene. The children were taken to Auckland's Starship Hospital and her 10-year-old daughter was not able to attend the funeral because she was still recovering from her injuries.
Te Kopuru firefighters in two appliances who attended the crash scene were shocked to discover relatives in the car. Firefighters affected by the tragedy have been offered counselling by the brigade.
Ms Talijancich was born and bred in Dargaville and had been with the Te Kopuru brigade for about seven years.
Carried through a guard of honour at the church to Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World, Ms Talijancich's humble, wooden casket was adorned with handwritten notes of remembrance from friends and family.
Her brother, Sam, spoke lovingly about a sister, a mother and a friend who was "a very private and caring person" and someone who lived a selfless life.
Before a burial at Red Hill Cemetery in Te Kopuru, fire trucks lit up and sounded their sirens to send Ms Talijancich on her way from the church.
Ms Talijancich's friends and work colleagues have set up a Givealittle page which had raised almost $3000 from 43 donors by this morning.