A wide cross-section of the Feilding community turned out for a candlelit service tonight in response to recent tragic deaths, and to celebrate the town's strength of spirit.

Two light aircraft from Flight Training Manawatu flew over the Feilding clock tower about 5.30pm, watched in silence by around 800 people at the bottom of the tower, followed by Hato Paora College pupils singing Time to Say Goodbye.

Speakers included Manawatu District Mayor Ian McKelvie, Sir Mason Durie from the nearby Aorangi Marae, and church leaders. Around the bottom of the clock tower were many white bags with messages written on them remembering loved ones, with candles alight.

"It was fantastic, it was a great result, and the comment was (about) the age group - the variety right through from the littlies sitting here on the grass right through to the old people, so that was awesome,'' said Helen Worboys, of Feilding Promotions, who helped organise the event.

"It was to pay respect, to give thanks to the emergency services and the support networks and the volunteer groups in the community that are still working, and then about moving on, and moving on together and caring ... for each other."

The small Manawatu community has been shaken by a series of recent and unconnected tragedies.

Desmond Winnie, 65, his wife Deborah Honeyfield, 51, and her father Ian Honeyfield, 86, were found on Monday morning after an apparent murder-suicide.

Their deaths follow last month's unsolved murder of Feilding farmer Scott Guy, 31, and the deaths of pilot Jessica Neeson, 27, and her student Patricia Smallman, 64, in an air collision near Feilding Aerodrome.

Feilding-raised soldier Tim O'Donnell, 28, was also killed in Afghanistan this month.

The deaths were not linked, but "we all know those people because they're in our community", Ms Worboys said.

The sister of Mr Guy, Nikki Guy, and his parents Bryan and Jo Guy, were among family members at the event.

"I think we need to come together as a community and show each other our strength and comfort each other,'' Nikki Guy told TV3.

"I know personally the community's been fantastic towards our family, and we want to give some strength and comfort back to the wider community."

A free concert for young people will be held on September 12, and a family sports day on September 19.

Feilding had held a similar type of service in the middle of winter in 2002 after policeman Duncan Taylor was shot near Rongotea, Ms Worboys said.

- NZPA