Classmates of a teenager who was swept out to sea at Waihī Beach have celebrated his life in an emotional ceremony at their school this week.
Hamilton's Melville High's year 13 students gathered to remember their friend Jaden Chhayrann who is missing, presumed drowned, after getting into trouble last Friday.
The 17-year-old had been on a geography trip when he got into trouble about 12.40pm.
Despite what have been described as "heroic" efforts from a teacher, Jaden could not be saved.
Principal Clive Hamill said the event included Jaden's family and close friends and saw students giving speeches about their classmate before balloons with special messages written on them were released outside.
"The students fed, comforted and supported those present and undertook a series of activities which included the mass release of helium balloons with messages of love and hope attached to them."
A photo powerpoint presentation was also shown at the two-hour ceremony.
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The student-led event comes as authorities continue to search for the teenager at the beach, where Jaden's family and close friends have been gathering each day in the hopes of getting their son and brother back.
SEARCH CONTINUES A WEEK ON
A police spokesman confirmed that the search resumed at first light this morning.
"The search is to continue this morning with shoreline and coastline searches along Waihī Beach with the assistance of the Surf Lifesaving Club," he said.
Hamill also revealed that the school's board had held a special meeting on Wednesday night to talk about the situation.
"The board affirmed that the school's focus is on supporting Jaden's family, the students and staff involved - especially as Jaden has yet to be found."
Hamill said the board would be "fully co-operating" with the police as an investigation into the incident continues.
"In light of that investigation, it is not appropriate for us to make any further comment on this front."
Hamill thanked the local community for the ongoing support the school had received since the tragedy - in the form of daily messages, flowers, food and offers of support from other schools.
Students and staff have also been given access to counsellors this week.
Hamill encouraged parents and caregivers to continue to support their own children who may be affected by the situation.
"I remind you all that there are times in our lives that we have experiences where we need to connect with others to ensure that we keep emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually safe.
"We ask that you keep an eye on your child and their friends and encourage them to reach out and connect with others and especially with our school."