Hero helicopter pilot Steve Askin will make his final journey in a coffin decorated with the "stories of his life".

The war hero's father, Paul Askin, said the rimu coffin was made by his other son and decorated by friends and family since Steve Askin died when his Squirrel helicopter crashed while fighting the Port Hills' fires six days ago.

The SAS soldier will be farewelled at Christchurch's Air Force Museum of New Zealandat Wigram today.

Paul Askin spoke yesterday about the family's final gift to the 37-year-old husband of Elizabeth, and father of Isabelle, 7, and Bowie, 4.

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It is his coffin.

Built by Steve's brother, Pete, with help from his brothers-in-law and girlfriend, its lid has also been decorated by wider family and friends.

It was a lot of work, but a labour of love, Askin said.

"It's beautiful and it's stunning. It's a gift and it's an expression of love and of whanau, a whole bunch of things."

Steve got a tattoo on his back a few years ago, which his sister helped design, and which incorporated the "stories of his life".

It was now engraved on the lid of his coffin, along with the SAS insignia, representing the elite army special forces unit with which he received the NZ Galantry Star while serving in Afghanistan in 2014.

Steve Askin with son Bowie (left) and daughter Isabelle (right). Photo / Givealittle
Steve Askin with son Bowie (left) and daughter Isabelle (right). Photo / Givealittle

A band of woven flax hearts encircled the coffin, with messages written on by Steve's children.

The coffin would also carry the New Zealand flag, and a battledress knife, beret, belt and medals.

Today's farewell would begin with special time in the morning with Steve's army friends and those he served with, including some who travelled from Australia, before the coffin was taken to the city on his brother's truck.

"He will be welcomed there, [we'll have] speakers from the army, there'll be other speakers. We will sing, we will pray and we'll commit him into God's hands."

The family were humbled by the support shown to them, including almost $260,000 donated in total to two Givealittle pages supporting Steve's family, Askin said.

As Steve was still in the SAS he was not eligible for life insurance, and he was also saving for a deposit on a home.

Steven Askin in his June 2015 Facebook profile photo. His funeral will be held in Christchurch today. Photo / Facebook
Steven Askin in his June 2015 Facebook profile photo. His funeral will be held in Christchurch today. Photo / Facebook

The country's generosity was "future changing" for his daughter-in-law and grandchildren, he said.

"I'm totally, utterly gobsmacked and humbled ... it will make such a difference for Elizabeth and the children.

"I know that she will be absolutely adamant that the very best use of that money is made so it has a lasting benefit for the kids and in years to come they will know the benefit of so many ordinary Kiwis up and down the country."

Southern Fire Communications' shift manager Brent Dunn said last night there had been no flare ups as the aftermath of the fires continues almost a week after they started.

Almost two dozen crews are still monitoring and damping down hotspots in the Port Hills, Dunn said.

Air support would be suspended at nightfall, but ground crews would remain at the scene overnight.