Hundreds of mourners packed into Saint Francis Xavier Church in Whangarei today to farewell 18-year-old Ben Brown who died of meningococcal disease on Saturday.

Mr Brown was the second Northlander to die of meningococcal disease in the past month, and one of six cases recorded by the Northland District Health Board this year.

His funeral was attended by more than 500 people, many of whom arrived and departed on BMX bikes.

Mr Brown was a keen freestyle BMX rider and well known by those who ride at the Whangarei Skate Park.


He was remembered as a young man who loved his family, loved his girlfriend and his mates, and loved his bike.

The Brown family has laid complaints with Northland Coroner about the circumstances leading up to his death. They and Mr Brown's partner, Kelc (Kelsie) MacKenzie, say his illness went undiagnosed twice within the crucial few hours that meant the difference between life and death