The family of Wiremu Keepa Jnr gave his grandmother a special Mother's Day present at the weekend when they laid his body to rest near her's at Kauae Cemetery.

Mr Keepa Jnr, a former Western Heights High School head boy, idolised his grandmother, the late Witarina (Trina) Keepa.

The 23-year-old was buried on Saturday following his tangi at Tunohopu Marae.

Hundreds of friends and family paid their respects to Mr Keepa Jnr who collapsed and died suddenly at his Perth home on Monday May 1. His cause of death is still to be determined by the coroner.

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Wiremu Keepa Jnr's funeral. Photo/Stephen Parker
Wiremu Keepa Jnr's funeral. Photo/Stephen Parker

His uncle, also called Wiremu Keepa, said his nephew loved and idolised his grandmother.

"He was mesmerised by his grandmother. Everyone knows he was extremely close to her, he would take his suitcase up there (to Koutu) to be with her. It's fitting he is laying near her now."

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Hundreds gather to welcome home Wiremu's body

Mr Keepa said the family were "eternally grateful" to everyone who came to the tangi.

"The family were humbled by the presence of all those who travelled from close and afar. Although it was a sad occasion, it was a happy occasion in some respects because it gave us an opportunity to rekindle long lost relationships."

Rev Tom Poata speaks at Wiremu Keepa Jnr's funeral. Photo/Stephen Parker
Rev Tom Poata speaks at Wiremu Keepa Jnr's funeral. Photo/Stephen Parker

Mr Keepa was touted as a future leader of his Ngati Whakaue people. He was a recipient of a Rotorua Community Award for his contribution to his school and various community organisations in 2012.

A Givealittle page raised nearly $10,000 to go towards the cost of bringing his body back to Rotorua from Australia and his tangi.