The sound of the conch shell and a powerful haka greeted Far North teen Te Amo-haere Rudolph as her coffin entered Kaitaia's Te Ahu Centre for an emotional farewell.
Te Amo-haere touched the hearts of many in the Far North community as she battled terminal cancer.
The depth of the aroha and respect felt for the Kaitaia College head girl was well illustrated by the hundreds who packed into the main hall. Mourners also spilled into the main reception area as there was no room inside the hall.
Te Amo-haere Ella Rudolph died on Thursday surrounded by her family. She is survived by her parents, Vincent and Annie, and siblings.
The Kaitaia College student had been involved in many community organisations and won the school's Clifford Matthews Award for community service, academics, culture and sport.
She was also a member of the Far North Surf Rescue Club, where she is an honorary life member, St John and many other organisations and groups.
Her achievements were mentioned by many yesterday, and much of this was despite the terminal cancer she was battling. Her love of life and her friends family and community, her compassion, her strength and courage, and her inspirational attitude were also celebrated by all who knew her.
She insisted that there be no tears of sadness at her service, only joy. And it was with joy that this fun-filled young woman was remembered.
The area outside Te Ahu was packed well before Te Amo-haere's coffin was brought in a Far North Surf Rescue Club IRB and accompanied by a fire engine.
The service was conducted by Reverend Michael Withiel and Canon Dennis Urquhart, with eulogies and tributes from her English teacher Hal Walker, principal Jack Saxon, Angela Jones, John Rudolph, Dr Lance O'Sullivan and Olly Ifopo, as well as some of her friends, including Hannah Wetzel, Allana Yerkovich, Kate Timperley, Erana Punshon and Heavon Levi.
All spoke of the inspiration she was and how her legacy will influence many.
The hall had pink and white balloons hanging from the ceiling and dreamcatcher mobiles hung from the walls.
The mobiles were fitting, as, one friend said, Te Amo-haere made everybody realise that no dream is unattainable, no matter how big a dream it is.
Moe mai ra.
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