Craig Norgate's coffin has been carried out of St Joseph's Catholic Church in Hawera draped in the flag of his favourite provincial rugby team, the Chiefs.
The 50-year-old celebrated business executive was in London with his wife Jane, son Jordan and daughter Alexandria when he suddenly collapsed and died earlier this month.
His funeral was held in his hometown of Hawera today , where hundreds of mourners arrived, resulting in them spilling out into a neighbouring hall for the service.
Among those gathered were Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, Whanganui MP Chester Borrows and head coach for Taranaki's ITM cup team Colin Cooper.
Pallbearers Red Kuklinski, Geoff Roberts, Royce Stockman, Colin Watt, Michael Douglas, Phil Orr, Brent Stockman and Joe Cronin carried Norgate's coffin from the church as Crowded House's 'Don't Dream It's Over' played.
After the service, friends described Mr Norgate as a "real character".
One attendee, who did not wish to be named, said his love of rugby was a "prominent" part of the service.
"He left a little before his times in a lot of ways."
Another friend said it was Mr Norgate's efforts in business, with his family and in rugby that really shone through in today's service.
"He was a well-respected man and he will be well and truly missed."
Another friend, Bill Batchelor, said those who spoke did so "sincerely".
"I thought it was very very impressive ... He loved life and left very, very quickly."
Following today's service, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said he found the funeral "very moving".
"Craig's done a huge amount for agriculture in general in New Zealand and a massive amount for the dairy industry.
"He was instrumental in the formation of Fonterra, and what we heard about Craig was he always had a Plan B, in case Plan A never came off."
Norgate was Fonterra's first chief executive from 2001 to 2003, before he headed to PGG Wrightson, then the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Mr Guy said he was a real "visionary" who had "strong roots" in Taranaki.
His roots were also strong in rugby and sport in general, he said.
"Certainly he's done a massive amount for primary industries in New Zealand and that's why I'm here today representing the Government," Mr Guy said.
"There were a lot of stories, a lot of anecdotes, a lot of humour - very fitting for a man who was larger than life and has made a massive contribution."
Among those who made tributes at the funeral were Norgate's brother Geoff, and Graham Stuart, who was strategy director at Fonterra while Norgate worked there.
Despite his success in the business world, he used to describe himself as a "boy from the 'Naki", and those who knew him have called him humorous, energetic, passionate, visionary, driven and inspirational.
His most recent role was leading the transformation of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand, which he completed in April.
In 2005, Mr Norgate won the New Zealand Herald Business Leader of the Year award and in 2008 he received the World Class New Zealander award, from Kea New Zealand, for business and finance.
In a tribute his daughter Alexandria described her father as "the most generous clever and kind hearted man I have ever known".
"You were an incredible dad to us, and an extremely doting husband to mum," she wrote.
"I am sad that you won't be able to walk me down the aisle one day, but grateful for the 21 years I was blessed with your love."
His death notice described him as the dearly loved husband of Jane and treasured father of Dylan, Jordan, and Alexandria.
"A much loved husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend."
The family asked for donations to be made to Sport Taranaki in lieu of flowers.
Craig Norgate (1965-2015)
• Born in Hawera in 1965
• Studied at Massey University before taking up a management role at the Department of Maori Affairs when he was 21
• Fonterra's first chief executive from 2001 to 2003
• Reportedly New Zealand's first CEO on a million dollar salary
• Held senior roles with PGG Wrightson and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
• Also director of the New Zealand Dairy Board, Sealord Group and Mainland Products, and was chief executive of Kiwi Co-operative Dairies before it merged with others to form Fonterra.
• On the board of directors of Port Taranaki and of the New Plymouth District Council's investment fund
• A former director of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union and the Taranaki Rugby Football Union
• Invested in the Chiefs
• Won the New Zealand Herald Business Leader of the Year award in 2005
• Received the World Class New Zealander award, from Kea New Zealand, for business and finance in 2008