Dr Chris Cresswell was deeply loved by many in Whanganui.

Around 1000 people gathered at Moutoa Gardens to farewell Cresswell on Saturday January 7, 2017 and speakers repeatedly talked of Cresswell as a man of love, peace and unity.

Cresswell was passionate about equality, the environment and medicine and family friend Rochelle Bullock said he was "well respected and loved amongst all people."

Cresswell's older sister Nicola Dickie, said her brother loved Dr Seuss' book on the perils of corporate greed The Lorax when he was a child.

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"I think he really lived by the lessons of that story and became the Lorax," she said.
He worked alongside iwi and was prominent in advancing Maori health.

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He was also politically active and a member of the Green Party. He was a major player in raising awareness of climate change, and publicly opposed and demonstrated against the Trans Pacific Partnership and seabed mining.

In September 2016 he climbed on top of local MP Chester Borrows' car during a protest against the TPP and in November that year helped organise a local march to encourage awareness of climate change issues.

Cresswell's son Connor was head boy at Whanganui High School in 2016 and paid tribute to his father at Moutoa Gardens with a reading of the Dylan Thomas poem Do not go gentle into that Good Night while his cousin Angus chose to be "upbeat" in his homage to his uncle.

"Looking round the people gathered here, I reckon it is safe to say the my uncle was a bloody weirdo and you should all be as quirky as you can to honour his memory," said Angus.

Then Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei traveled from Dunedin to attend Cresswell's funeral.

"He was deeply inspirational," said Ms Turei.

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"I loved the way he always took life by the horns and enjoyed what he did."

Iwi representative Ken Mair said Cresswell's work in the community was exceptional.

"In his work as a doctor as well as his courage in standing up and advocating for causes like climate change, he was always humble and respectful."

About 1000 people turned out for Cresswell's funeral in January 2017.
About 1000 people turned out for Cresswell's funeral in January 2017.

The predominant colours at the gathering at Moutoa Gardens were green (Cresswell's favourite colour and representative of his political affiliations as well as his love for the environment) and blue worn by his medical colleagues.

There were also bright butterflies and sunflowers representing the peaceful protests and action groups that were an important part of his life.

As a member of Whanganui Peace Action group, Cresswell travelled to Auckland to protest against the visit of an American nuclear warship and an arms conference last month.

"He was always respectful in the way he spoke to people in those situations," said fellow protester Denise Lockett.

"The police were arming themselves with long batons and Chris said 'please don't use those guys - they hurt people and that was how he was, he always used reason."

Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall said he admired Dr Cresswell's ability to bring people together and encourage others.

"He touched us all with his love of life, his incredible charisma and strong principles," he said.

Coast Care co-ordinator Graham Pearson said he was always impressed with the time Cresswell made to show his support for community projects.

"He was a doctor but he always tried to be an ambulance at the top of the cliff kind of guy," said Mr Pearson.

"He had to be at the bottom of the cliff too of course but he encouraged people to eat well, exercise and enjoy the environment as well."


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