Two young men, praised for their passion for life, humility and sense of humour, were farewelled by about 2000 mourners yesterday.

Brothers Sam, 19, and Angus Donald, 15, died on Thursday afternoon when their ute crashed into a tree on Western Lake Rd.

In the Rathkeale College auditorium, mother Tracie Donald said the family had accepted the challenge of remembering the boys but continuing to live their lives as best they could.

"Our lives will never be the same again. We will continue to rise, we will always celebrate you and we will always be a family."


She spoke of Sam being "a rock" for his brothers, a man just starting to get his "mojo".

"You were full of confidence. You were sincere and loyal - a rock for your younger brothers. You just got on with things."

"Angus, you were a quiet, humble young man. You had tenacity and strong will. People that knew you, knew your wicked sense of humour."

Family friend and Wanganui Collegiate student Hugo Bidwill described how his family and the Donalds, particularly Gus, had become very close.

He spoke of the times he and the two boys had had getting towed behind the Donald family's boat in a biscuit by the boys' father David.

"They were the kings of the biscuit," he said.

He looked back on the two families meeting up for the Tauherenikau races and enjoying each other's company.

"Gus knew everything about the races - what bets to put on, the best spot to watch the race, the best spot to sit."

"Tracie would always have the most amazing picnic waiting."

He talked of both boys' "cheeky smiles", which would never be forgotten.

"Quirky, funny, good natured Gus, I can't believe you're gone," Hugo said.

Sam Donald's employer at Otaki Hunting and Fishing, Charlie Meyer, said Sam had been an absolute pleasure to be around. "He was an integral part of the team.

"He had an incredible way with people."

Mr Meyer said Sam understood how lucky he was for his upbringing and had a passion for life that not many could match.

Rathkeale principal Willy Kersten said the school would sorely miss two of its favourite sons.

He said they were both fully engaged in Repton House activities with "no fuss or bother, they just got on with things."

"They had the courage to be their own men.

"They are gone but they will be the solid shoulders for future Rathkeale students to stand on.

"We will remember them. If we take something from their lives then they have lived with purpose."

The service concluded with the pallbearers, including younger brother Bayley, taking Sam and Gus out past a haka from Rathkeale students.

Sam and Gus leave behind parents David and Tracie, brother Bayley and Amy, Abi and Isaac.