The family of Iraena Asher has spoken of the sadness of her mother dying without having got the peace of mind of her daughter's body being found.
Asher disappeared at Piha in October 2004 after making a distressed 111 call.
Eight years later, a coroner concluded she had most likely drowned and that her death was accidental.
A funeral for her mother, Betty Anne Asher, 65, was held last Saturday. She died in Auckland Hospital less than three weeks after a tumour was diagnosed.
The pain of Asher's death never went away for family, Angelique Asher, the oldest of Betty and Michael Asher's children, told the Herald.
"You learn to live with it rather than get over it.
"It's always there … It's living with a gaping hole in your life and in your heart.
"A photograph of Iraena was on the casket and it went with Mum.
"It brings us great comfort that they are together. Mum will be just so happy to see Iraena again. We are of that belief, we take comfort from our faith.
"Closure is really important and Mum's passing has really reiterated the importance of getting to say our final goodbyes. We had Mum at home with us for a couple of days. It's hugely important to help process the grief.
"It's a totally different situation with Iraena. We may never have Iraena's body. We have reconciled ourselves to that possibility but it doesn't make it any easier."
Asher, who was a trainee teacher and a model, would have been 40.
Angelique, 44, said their mother's death was a shock as Betty's mother had died only a few years ago. "We thought we had another 20 years with Mum.
"Dad [Michael] has been an absolute rock for the family."
Coroner Peter Ryan said the failure of the police not to send a patrol car to Piha to ascertain whether Asher needed help after she made a distressed 111 call was a contributing factor in her death.
Police instead called a taxi but it later emerged that it mistakenly went to another part of Auckland.
The decision not to send a police car led to a review of emergency call centre processes.
"We have lost in a way our trust in that system but we can't be holding on to too much negativity and bitterness," Angelique said.
"We need to celebrate Iraena rather than holding on to the could-haves and should-haves, because that is a pathway to madness."
The Coroner found that Asher, who had a history of bipolar episodes, was likely to be suffering an emotional crisis following the break up of her long term relationship that would have been enhanced by her consumption of alcohol and marijuana when she vanished on October 12, 2004.
She had gone to Piha with a new boyfriend and a friend of his.
Based on the available evidence, Coroner Ryan did not believe Asher had been given or taken any hard drugs. However, he said it was clear to him that the "sexually charged'' atmosphere at the Piha house she was at with her boyfriend and others made her feel like she was being pressured for sex she did not want to participate in.
She left that house and was seen by Piha locals who described her behaving erratically. She rang 111 about 9pm.
Soon after she was helped by a local woman and her son who said she went from hallucinating to being "quite lucid".
They took her home, made her food and set up a bed for her in the lounge. However, she left abruptly, walking back into a stormy night wearing only a dressing gown.
Asher was last seen by a couple walking their dog about 2am. They said she was naked. They followed but lost sight of her as she walked beyond the street lights towards the beach.