The former rugby coach of 15-year-old Morocco Tai killed after a police pursuit has described the young player as "fearless", "rugged" and supportive of his teammates.
Cori Paul, the teenager's former junior rugby coach at Horahora Club, in Whangarei, posted on Facebook following Monday's fatal crash in Auckland, saying it was sad to hear of his death.
He included a team photo with Morocco in the front row whispering a few words of encouragement in his teammate's ear.
The teenager died on Otara's Bairds Rd, when the stolen car he was driving collided with a tree following a police pursuit.
Two 15-year-old women in the car were also injured - one seriously.
"This has hit a little close to home, so to speak, and we can all take lessons out of this tragedy," Paul said in his Facebook post.
"I just want to put it out there if any of you kids or your mates need someone to talk to drop me a message on Facebook or call me."
Morocco and his sister joined the team about four years ago, when they were about 11 years old.
"Although he was with us for a short time Morocco was a rugged, hearty player with no fear. All thoughts to his whanau."
Comments on the post included a message from Trevor Baker who said it was sad news and the young rugby player had been an "up and comer".
"Too many of our rangatahi getting caught up with the law these days. Credit to you for all your time and energy for them bro."
And from Jay Sugarplum: "Very sad to think someone so young had such a tragic end. Gosh it hits home alright Corza. Same age as our boys Rest In Peace Morocco. HH hard."