To his friends in the small Australian town he adopted, Tony Edwards was like family.
To his family, he was the kind-hearted big brother and uncle who travelled the world on daring adventures and now belonged home.
Friends and family are teaming up to get the former skipper's ashes to New Zealand.
Edwards spent much of his adult life at sea but wound up 300km from the Pacific Ocean in the Queensland town of Chinchilla.
"He was the leader. He was our eldest brother," his sister Diane in Hawke's Bay said.
Edwards, 59, died on New Year's Day, shortly after talking to loved ones back home on the last day of 2020 to wish them well for the year ahead.
It's understood a coroner in Toowoomba, two hours' drive from Chinchilla, was now examining the cause of his death.
Diane Edwards said her brother, eldest of seven siblings, was born in Upper Hutt.
From a family of carvers, artists and fishermen, he moved around often.
Some voyages took him to potentially dangerous places such as the Persian Gulf.
He would assess risks before setting off and decide if money to be earned outweighed the dangers.
"He had a fantastic career," Diane said.
She said her brother in the 1990s was part of a major drama.
"He thought he'd lost a deckhand out at sea - but the deckhand was hiding."
A huge search-and-rescue operation was launched before the errant deckhand was discovered.
Later, Edwards had a viral infection which suddenly and severely impaired his hearing.
He was employed in road works, moving to Chinchilla about five years ago where he painted as a hobby.
Diane said her brother, of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Kahungunu, made friends across New Zealand and the world during his travels.
She thanked her brother's Queensland friends.
"They're his Aussie family, his beautiful Aussie family."
She said Tony loved the countryside so it wasn't surprising he moved to Chinchilla, a town of 6500 people about three hours' drive west of Brisbane.
"We took him on because he didn't have any family here," Karen Fleming in Chinchilla told the Herald.
"It's a country town and we're all very close because a lot of the people who live here grew up together."
She said Edwards endeared himself to locals with his sense of humour and kindness.
"He was in a relationship for a little while ... But then he just lived by himself. He was at our place every second day."
"He had a heart of gold that meant he would bend over backwards for anyone."
Fleming, her partner Warwick Polzin and other Chinchilla residents are raising funds on GoFundMe to send his ashes home.
"We'll do the cremation here and what we're trying to do is get him back home to you guys," Fleming said.
She said Edwards was proud of his heritage, and Chinchilla locals wanted him to be farewelled in accordance with Māori protocol.
Another fundraising effort is underway in New Zealand, where Tony's niece and Diane's daughter Krystal Perawiti established a Givealittle page to help cover costs.
It had been considered flying someone to Brisbane to accompany Tony's ashes home but lockdowns and travel bans were posing challenges.
Raising money to send a loved one home during a global pandemic might not be easy, but Diane said it was important to do.
"He was a helpful chap," Diane Edwards added. "If anyone needed help, there was no price."
"It's a homecoming," she said. "It's the beginning of another life."