Key Points:

A university student who died after eating magic mushrooms received a heart transplant 10 years ago.

Family and friends of Te Awhina Hawera, 23, gathered at a marae in Tuakau yesterday to celebrate the extra years the life-saving operation had given.

"She had lots of friends - from schools, from clubs, all the things she was involved with," said her uncle, Jason Hawera.

He said his niece was a "typical Kiwi girl... She pushed a lot of things to the limit to see whether she could get away with them, but she was a likeable person."

Andy Tookey, the founder of, a campaign promoting an effective organ donation system, said he didn't believe organ donation patients should feel they have to live a different life to others after receiving an organ.

"She is lucky she got the transplant originally, because she had 10 years of good life which wouldn't have been possible without a donor. I'm sure her parents are grateful that she got that."

Hawera, a former Sacred Heart Girls' College student, died on Thursday night after eating the mushrooms at a Hamilton East flat.

Acting senior sergeant Geoff Blow of Hamilton told the Herald on Sunday last night the case was under active investigation. He would not rule out the possibility that charges would be laid.

Police were still investigating where the mushrooms had come from and were expected to interview others in the flat.

Earlier police inquiries had revealed that Hawera had been with a group of friends when she tried magic mushrooms. She later collapsed, complaining of being cold and scared, and an ambulance was called around 8.30pm. Ambulance officers performed CPR but she died an hour and a half later at Waikato Hospital.

It was uncertain where the mushrooms had been consumed, but Hawera sometimes stayed with friends at a flat in Ford St, and a close friend said it was there that she went last Thursday night "to be safe".

Family members told the Herald on Sunday that it was there she began feeling badly ill.

Hawera was understood to have begun studying at the University of Waikato this year, after having worked on and off for the past few years. A close friend said she was unable to go to university or work regularly - "because of her heart".

The farewell for Hawera began on Friday night when about 400 people gathered at her family's home in Hamilton. Her father, Piripi, is a Maori resource teacher in Huntly, and her mother Judith teaches at the University of Waikato.

From there, Hawera's body was taken to the Nga Tai E Rua Marae in Tuakau, near Pokeno, yesterday, where a large number of family and friends had gathered to remember her.

Hawera had a heart transplant in 1997 after being diagnosed with rheumatic fever when she was 11, and subsequently had both valves in her heart replaced. Reports from the time of her heart transplant said Hawera took time to recover, but two years later played tennis and volleyball at school.

The transplant required her to be on immuno-suppressant medication for life. Those who receive major organ transplants are recommended to stay fit, reduce sodium intake, and avoid alcohol.

Her father, also had transplant surgery in 1988. At the time of Awhina Hawera's heart transplant, the family said they wanted to help make people aware there were not enough Maori organ donors.

There were just 25 organ donors in NZ last year - only seven of those were Maori. The total of seven Maori donors in 2006 was an increase on only seven Maori donors in the entire 10 years prior.