The animals a Hastings teenager loved in life took him to his final resting place yesterday.
Police confirmed 16-year-old Codie Irwin, of Flaxmere, died when the motorcycle he was riding collided with a light truck on Stock Rd near Equestrian Lane in Bridge Pa last Thursday.
His family had planned for horses to help take the 16-year-old to rest at Rongomaraeroa Marae, Porangahau,before his funeral service yesterday morning.
"Our darling's wish was to go to Porangahau, where he will be surrounded by what he loves. He hates sheep but loves shearing! And, has a love of horses and everything country!," his death notice stated.
His family declined to comment. In the notice Codie was remembered as the much-loved son of Lindsay Irwin and Charlene Tipu, and the "super loved" brother of Antonio, Lorenzo, Dillon and Lynne.
He was the "loved brother-in-law of Cara, Givana, Moeroa, and Desmond, and the best "Gunkle" to Roera, Te Uira, Te Kukanga, Kassidy-Joyce and Himiona, as well as uncle to Destiny, Paora, Byron, Jarome and Piripi".
"Cherished moko of Nohokainga (Bella) Tipu & Charlie Tohu, Alf Christenson, and Jack & Agnes Irwin."
The teenager's love of horses grew during his two years in the Birchleigh Polo Club programme, which is aimed at helping at-risk youth stay on the right side of the law.
Co-ordinator Richard Kettle said Codie had gotten a lot out of the course, which he finished around the time he started Year 9 at Hastings Boys' High School.
The "really likable kid" would often turn up hours before he needed to be at the programme, was eager to learn, and would help mentor newer students.
"He was a bit of a character. He was full of life, he wasn't afraid of a challenge. He took to everything with real enthusiasm, and he had some real knocks, he fell off quite a lot in the early days but he'd laugh about it and get straight back on," Kettle said.
"He really loved the horses and had a lot of respect for them. He was determined to master it and be good at it, which he did, in the end he was getting really good."
The programme was founded by Leg Up Trust co-ordinator Ros Rowe, who said she remembered Codie as a "fairly out there boy", and his passing was "terribly sad".
"He did have an anger problem, he seemed to like the horses that was a real plus."
Part of the reason for setting up the project was to give troubled youths an outlet for their sense of adventure, she said, as a way of teaching them to "have affection for another living thing".
Investigations into Thursday's crash are ongoing, and police have appealed for witnesses or anyone who saw the motorcycle before the crash.
The motorcycle was allegedly driven on a limestone cycle pathway on the wrong side of Stock Rd, heading north towards Flaxmere when the truck pulled out of a driveway. Neither rider nor pillion passenger were wearing helmets.
The passenger was discharged from Hawke's Bay Hospital this week. The investigation was ongoing and police were unable to comment on whether any charges would be laid.
The death is the second on Hawke's Bay roads this year. Last year the Hawke's Bay road toll was the highest it had been since 2012, with 24 people killed on roads between Wairoa and Tararua.
• Anyone who was in the Stock Rd area at the time or has any information is asked to phone the police on (06) 877 0609. Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.