A group of Thai nationals living in Whangarei has vowed to wear black at work for a year as a mark of respect for their late monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Alisa Rawas, manager of Pimarn Thai Restaurant, and her staff have opened a condolence book at their business premises on Rathbone St below a large picture of the late king.

The world's longest-reigning monarch died on Thursday last week, aged 88, triggering a year of official mourning in his country for a figure revered by many Thais.

Many Thais are wearing black and mourners have continued to converge on the Grand Palace in central Bangkok to pay their respects by signing a book of condolences.


Entertainment such as TV shows and sports events have been cancelled or toned down in Thailand as a mark of respect.

Ms Rawas, who hails from the northern town of Lampang, said she could not sleep and constantly prayed for her king when he was taken to Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok before he died.

"In all 70 years as the king of Thailand, our king had never lived a luxurious life as he could have done, but had worked long days and long nights to help us, his people," she said.

"He travelled to all the remote areas in Thailand with maps and pencil in his hands to create thousands of his royal projects to help his people with water projects, agricultural, healthcare and so many other things more than we can think about."

Ms Rawas said the royal palace was the testing ground for new agricultural concepts that were implemented throughout Thailand to help improve people's lives.

"We love him. Our king, the ordinary man who had been working to help us all his life and never asked for anything in return."

His death, Ms Rawas said, was hard to accept and Thais around the world would mourn for a very long time.

She said King Adulyadej's generosity extended even to her town where he built a school and a temple to help uplift the lives of the poor.

"He was a larger-than-life figure. To us, he was the father of the nation yet was a simple man and that was one quality that endeared him to his people."

Ms Rawas said an equally caring son of their king, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, would take over the reins and continue with the good work his father started.

There are about 1000 Thais in Northland mostly working in restaurants, orchards and traditional Thai massage clinics.