The Bay of Plenty has lost a local rugby great, devoted family man and selfless community leader.
Former Bay of Plenty Steamers captain Mark Weedon died of a heart attack while watching his son play rugby at Blake Park in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.
Weedon, a Pāpāmoa teacher, had celebrated his 53rd birthday only a week before.
He leaves behind his wife Kylie Gallagher and two sons aged 9 and 12.
Gallagher said she would miss seeing the joy, love and pride Weedon showed for their sons.
"He invested everything he had into our two boys," Gallagher said.
"Mark was the best dad. We were lucky to have him."
She wanted her husband to be remembered for his selflessness.
"He gave so much of his time to so many people and organisations.
"I'll miss his presence. I will miss his mana. "
Weedon's sister Katherine Weedon said family was her brother's pride and joy.
"He was a giver."
Katherine remembered Weedon marking his 50th birthday by donating sports equipment worth hundreds of dollars to schools in need.
"That was just one story. There are so many more situations I could tell you about. That was who Mark was.
"It was a privilege to call him my brother."
Papamoa Rugby Club junior rugby coordinator Selena Syme said Weedon's death was a huge loss for the community.
"You name it, Mark did it," Syme said.
"He was always the first to put his hand up for training, for taking kids to games, for just about anything really."
Syme said Weedon had a big zest for life.
"He was a kind, gentle giant."
Papamoa College principal Steve Lindsey said Weedon began relief teaching at the school last year and more recently took up a fixed-term role filling in as the teacher for a Years 7 and 8 class.
"We are very very sad to have lost such a good teacher and also a good guy, a colleague and a friend."
He said staff were supporting each other as well as students.
"A lot of students have started to put together messages of support and talking about what Mr Weedon meant to them."
Katikati Rugby and Sports Club President Rollo Dunlop first coached Weedon when he was head boy of Katikati College.
Dunlop coached Weedon when he played for the Katikati Under 18 team.
"He was an extremely good player to coach," Dunlop said.
"Mark was a bloke who had a way with people."
Mark Grayling said Weedon had been his "best mate" since they were "born side by side 53 years ago".
He said his friend was not defined only by his contribution to rugby.
"He was a huge advocate for mental health. He loved working with youth. He helped coach all sports including wrestling, swimming, tri-kids, league and basketball."
Bay of Plenty Steamers manager Wayne Brill, who grew up with Weedon, said he was also a keen ocean swimmer.
"He loved the ocean, the beach and Pāpāmoa especially."
Brill described Weedon as a great man on and off the field and a true friend.
"Mark was a big man with a big heart," Brill said.
"He was a mentor to a lot of people."
Weedon retired from rugby in 2002 after nearly two decades of top-level rugby both in New Zealand and overseas.
After Weedon's death social media tributes poured in from schools, friends and the wider rugby community.
Pāpāmoa Rugby Club said Weedon was a valued and loved member of their club.
"He was always the first to help out with marking lines, putting up goalposts, coaching, managing, finding players for teams, getting kids to training and home again, stock takes and he was our chief greeter and herder at registrations," they said on Facebook.
"There are no words to express our grief, and we are sending so much love and strength to Mark's Wife and Sons, family and friends. We will miss you, Mark."
Weedon also played for Waikite Rugby Club in Rotorua, which said Weedon "certainly added size, strength and experience to our pack during our championship run in the early 2000s".
The second-rower debuted for the Bay in 1986 as a schoolboy as an 18-year-old and later captained the province in 2001 and 2002.
Weedon played for the Chiefs and Crusaders in Super Rugby and, during a stint in the United Kingdom, captained the Coventry-based Wasps to a major knockout trophy win.
Weedon also played for the New Zealand Colts, won a couple of Gallaher Shield finals with Auckland club Ponsonby and played for Auckland and Wellington Bs.
According to New Zealand Rugby history, Weedon played a total of 115 games locally.
- Additional reporting Luke Kirkness