A teenager killed in a weekend accident had been trying out his younger sister's new birthday present, a skateboard.
Codie Higgison, 19, died in Whangarei Hospital on Saturday night from head injuries caused when he fell from the board and hit the footpath.
With Codie when he fell was his father, Fred Higgison, who told the Herald he and Codie went out about 1.30pm for some "father-son bonding time" while his 13-year-old daughter stayed at home to celebrate her birthday.
They decided to try her birthday gift and were taking turns riding the skateboard down a steep road in Maunu, in Whangarei, when Codie lost control.
"We were having a ball on it, laughing and doing father-son bonding. He went down a hill quite fast and fell off," said Mr Higgison.
"He went airborne and landed backwards and banged his head really hard on the concrete."
Mr Higgison rushed to his injured son, but was able to do little but call for help as he tried to stem the flow of blood from Codie's head, nose and ear.
"I was holding him, it was horrible ... It was something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy."
Codie loved sports and was a promising league player who dreamed of playing in the NRL.
A month ago he went to Australia to try out for Wests Tigers, but missed out on being selected. "He would have made an NRL side sooner or later, he just needed an opportunity," said his father.
On Saturday night, as Codie lay on life support, his family gathered and watched the World Cup match between the Kiwis and Australia - something he would have loved.
"We were just cheering it on, the Kiwis were doing it for him, it was his send off. At half time we had a talk with the doctors.
"They told us there was no hope so we made a decision - as soon as the game finished we would turn the machines off and it was up to him ... he never recovered."
Codie's body was last night lying at his family home, surrounded by shocked and grieving family and friends.
Said his father: "He was such a perfect son, everything you would want in a son he delivered that to us. He was just so loving, strong, just always smiling and a really awesome nature."
Mr Higgison lost a nephew in a skateboarding accident 36 years ago and is now dealing with the guilt of having let his son skateboard without a helmet.
He hopes other parents will learn from his mistake.
"It was my idea to go down the road to skateboard but my idea wasn't to take him down there to do what happened ... really kick myself for being so irresponsible.
"Really insist on your kids wearing helmets, it's something you would never ever want to go through.
"This has really scarred me. We are going to really, really miss him. We love him so much and we were so proud," said Mr Higgison, his voice breaking as he encouraged others to learn from the tragedy.
"Wear a helmet."