Thousands have gathered at Watyarnprateep Thai temple in Auckland on Sunday to mourn the loss of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Nearly all were dressed in black, and the mood was sombre at the Buddhist temple in Kelston.
"He is a strong King and he has done so much for us," said Sopida Sukbumrung, 22.
"This is a very sad time for Thai people, but it is now our turn to show him we too can be strong for him."
Jenny Livingston, who turns 50 today, cancelled her birthday celebration so she could be at the temple.
"Nobody in the Thai community is in a mood to celebrate," Livingston said, fighting back tears.
"I don't think any Thai will be celebrating for this whole year because we have lost the father of our nation."
A traditional Buddhist funeral ritual, or bathing ceremony, was held to pray for the King.
The world's longest reigning monarch died on Thursday at 88.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has declared a year-long mourning period.
Thai Society president Songvut Manoonpong said many here also intended to dress in black - the Thai mourning colours - for at least the next few months.
A condolences book will be open for signing from Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm at the Consulate General, Level 5, Lowndes House, 18 Shortland St, Auckland.