Melissa Rays only had a short stint of riding her electric bicycle to work before she died in a crash just metres from the family-run curtain hardware business in Mt Wellington.
Her boss and friend for decades, Tim Wallace, said Rays was "doing her bit for the environment".
"She had the bling pink helmet and fluro shoes when she rode her e-bike to work; she was cool. She was knocking on 60 and wanted to get a bit of exercise into her life, this was a new thing."
The Vanda team has been "very sombre" since learning of Rays' death on Monday, Wallace said.
Co-workers are "shell shocked".
The 58-year-old Mt Wellington local was riding her electric bicycle to the office on Marua Rd on Monday morning when she was critically injured and later died.
"It was a shock because she was on her way to work that morning and was literally about 150m away from work when she was struck, and it makes it even harder to accept sometimes," Wallace said.
Wallace said he arrived at work that morning as usual but noticed emergency services had closed Marua Rd.
"I didn't know it was Mel up the road for 20 to 30 minutes."
Wallace received a call and went down to the scene where he saw St John crews "doing everything they could" to save her.
"There was nothing I could do," Wallace said.
He said stood back and witnessed the horrifying scene, parts of her e-bike scattered everywhere.
"The 20 years that she worked at Vanda she lived... just down the road, so she was really a local.
"When people found out the person was struck, that hit home to businesses all the way down Marua Rd because a lot of people knew Mel, because she lived there and worked there."
He spoke to police and provided them with contact details for Rays' children, he said.
The first people Wallace spoke to about the crash were her children.
"We're leaning on each other," he said.
The Vanda team will attend a funeral service for Rays tomorrow and Wallace plans to share a eulogy.
"It's going to be a real celebration because she was all colour," Wallace said.
Wallace said the office has received cards and flowers from neighbouring businesses.
He closed Vanda on Monday and Tuesday.
She was the "matriarch" of the business, Wallace said, perhaps one the oldest team members but "youngest at heart".
"I feel indebted to her," said Wallace. "I owe her a great deal."
'There's only one Mel'
Rays started working at Vanda when she had young children and was transitioning between jobs, Wallace said, but she quickly became a key member of staff.
"Mel just knew her stuff. She ended up running one part of the company and was always the go-to person for many of our clients to have a chat, but also for technical information. She just knew it.
"We're left with a big hole in the company because we never anticipated having to replace someone like her."
Vanda is a manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor of custom made curtain hardware, rollers and blinds.
Rays had a great sense of humour, and was a "fiercely loyal Queenslander", Wallace said.
She married a New Zealander and had children in New Zealand, Wallace said.
"She made a home here. She was just someone a lot of people felt comfortable talking to. People would chat to her about other things, not just work."
During her 20 years at the company, Wallace said she was consistent and reliable, something he cherished as the owner.
"Even though I might have been her boss, I never felt like that. I just worked with Mel.
"She won't be someone who we can replace, there's only one Mel."
Rays' friend in Australia, Jackie Taylor-Fox, said she lost her "beautiful best friend and soul sister in a tragic accident".
"I can't believe she has been taken but I know we truly loved each other so much and we always had the best times through the almost 40 years of our close friendship.
"And we had so much more to do together too."
Floral tributes have been left at the crash site, as police continue an investigation.
Witnesses told the Herald police examined a white van that had broken glass and damage to the driver's side of the vehicle, and a person in the van spoke with officers.
The vehicle was reportedly towed from the scene.