The man killed while swimming at a popular Auckland beach has been farewelled at a ceremony held at the school where he taught.

Family and friends this afternoon gathered to farewell Leslie Gelberger, who was a science and maths teacher at Westlake Girls High School, on the North Shore.

The father of two young sons, Silas and Linus, Gelberger was reported missing after failing to return from a swim at Narrow Neck Beach on April 20.

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His body was spotted by passengers on a passing commuter ferry the next afternoon.

Members of the school community, as well as friends and family, have paid tribute to the man who is said to have loved the outdoors.

Mourners were earlier asked to arrive dressed not to mourn, but to celebrate.

"Leslie would have liked a party, not a funeral,'' a family notice said.

Originally from Canada, he is the son of Peter and Judith Gelberger and brother to Eva.

He is also survived by wife Laura Gelberger.

His funeral comes as almost $45,000 has been donated by members of the public to the family he has left behind.

Gelberger was the sole breadwinner for the family and donations will go towards helping his wife and young boys.

To donate to the family, visit: Help for Laura and kids