Out of a tragedy the Whangārei community has shown it has a heart.

That's what Garett Vincent said after collecting a boot load of food and goodies for two dogs belonging to homeless man Edward Martin Townsend, who was allegedly assaulted and later died in hospital this week.

Eddie, as he was known, was punched outside the Te Mai shops on Maunu Rd about 6pm on Monday. He was taken the short distance to Whangārei Hospital by ambulance but died about 1.25am on Tuesday.

A memorial service will be held for Eddie. Photo/ Supplied
A memorial service will be held for Eddie. Photo/ Supplied

A 25-year-old man, from Raumanga, made a brief appearance in Whangārei District Court on Tuesday before Judge Duncan Harvey.

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He was charged with manslaughter and was granted interim name suppression. He was remanded in custody until January 31 when he will appear in the High Court at Whangārei.

The death of Eddie made Vincent sad then angry. Over the past eight months he had come to know Eddie and his black and white staffy-cross dog Sky, and then more recently his second dog Rosie. Both dogs were with him when the alleged assault happened.

Eddie had been sleeping rough in an abandoned shed at Jubilee Park for at least the past six months.

The scene at the Te Mai shops where a 52-year-old Eddie was initially assaulted, then later died in hospital.
The scene at the Te Mai shops where a 52-year-old Eddie was initially assaulted, then later died in hospital.

"I'm sick of negative stuff happening in our town. I wanted to make something good out of something bad and show that Whangārei does have great people in the community," Vincent said.

So he decided to collect food for Eddie's two dogs which have been taken in by a carer until they recuperated and can be rehomed. Vincent posted on Facebook saying he would be at the Te Matau a Pohe carpark on Wednesday evening for a few hours.

The response and generosity, he said, was overwhelming.

"It turned out to be bigger than I expected. Some people were in tears and happy to be able to help in a small way. I just took the opportunity to do something small but something that showed we are a great community."

On Thursday Vincent delivered 30 large cans, 16 bags of biscuits, four bags of chews and lots of toys and blankets to a drop off point.

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A member of Eddie's family posted on facebook saying they were waiting for decisions from his mother, in Christchurch, on what would happen to Eddie.

"We've also been up to the memorial on Manu Rd and have collected up the perishable items, eg. cards, letters. As the rain is closing in and we'd like to have them at the service in Whangarei that we will be holding even if his body goes to Christchurch."

She also thanked those who had shown compassion.

"We really do have an amazing community."

Carol Peters, who supported the Open Arms organisation, said the memorial service would happen at their Robert St building at 10am on Sunday.