The funeral of artist William Jameson was as well-sculpted and big as anything in which he'd ever been involved as hundreds took part in the farewell at Clive yesterday, three days after he died at his home in Napier.

Also a waka ama enthusiast, he and his casket, which was made by friends of kauri and steel and conforming to the woven patternwork for which he was known, was given one last paddle up and down the Clive River as mourners gathered on the banks on a bright, sunny and calm winter's day.

He was then taken ashore and with a succession of alternating pallbearers was carried several hundred metres up Ferry Rd to St Francis Co-Operating Church.

It was packed, and about 100 friends stood outside, one of his sculptured metalworks among them, through a service that lasted over an hour-and-a-half, with many tributes including those of brother and sister Charles and Julia, his children, and sculpting colleagues Ricks Terstappen and Jacob Scott.

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They wove a tale of how a CHB farmer had turned to both sculpting and waka ama, studying art at the EIT after remarrying and moving from Ongaonga to Napier, and taking to waka ama on the river.

Known as Will and aged 60 when he died, he is survived by wife Angela and his six children.