A funeral fitting a hero can now be held for the young man who was fatally shot in Hamilton while protecting his girlfriend from gunfire at the weekend after more than $6000 has been raised for it.
A Givealittle page was set up on Sunday to raise funds for Robert Nelson's funeral because his family was "not in a position to pay for his funeral and not the kind of send-off such heroism deserves".
Nelson, 23, was fatally shot in the early hours of Sunday morning while trying to protect his girlfriend of four years Kahlee Marfell as they ran from a gunman at Marfell's family home in Melville. Marfell and another friend were seriously injured and remain at Waikato Hospital.
Aimee Laing, who worked alongside Nelson at Keystone and set up the Givealittle page, said both she and the family had been amazed by how quickly their target amount of $5000 had been reached.
By Monday night $5000 had been raised and as of Tuesday afternoon it had surpassed $6000.
Laing had spoken to Nelson's family about how much money had been raised so far.
"They are blown away just by all the support that they've received and the number of well wishes that they've had."
Laing said there had been generous donations from current and former employees of the Lawrenson Group, which owns Keystone, along with a raft of other bars and restaurant in Hamilton, as well as strangers.
"I'm just really blown away by how quickly it has happened and some people have really given a lot ... it's just really really amazing."
Nelson was a budding chef with a promising career who had worked at Keystone with his sister Erin. His mother Dannette Vrijs and younger brother Koenraad Nelson all worked at restaurants owned by the Lawrenson Group.
Any money left over after the funeral expenses would go towards any other bills and expenses accrued by the family while they had time off work and grieved for the much-loved, friendly and well-liked guy.
Vrijs told the Herald earlier this week she was still coming to terms with the awful fact she had lost her "hard-working and fun-loving" eldest son forever.
Marfell posted on Facebook today that she was trying to get herself better after being shot at a number of times so that she could farewell the love of her life.
Details of Nelson's funeral are not known at this stage, but a large number of Nelson's co-workers are expected to attend. His body was taken to Auckland for a post-mortem on Sunday.