The show of love by strangers has helped a Whangarei family deal with the tragic death of their youngest member.
The morning after 5-year-old Jahquin Cerebeus Sadler-Petera was killed when crossing Whangarei's Mill Rd strangers started a memorial to the boy by placing teddy bears, flowers and a small Christmas tree against a white concrete wall only metres from where he was struck.
A small collection of soft toys grew as did the bunches of flowers and on Christmas Eve candles were lit. Yesterday whanau members gathered and invited those strangers who had shown their love for Jahquin to meet at midday so they could thank them.
His father, Ivan Petera, said he was blown away by the kindness that had been shown.
"Our love goes out there to those who showed us love," he said.
Jahquin's mother, Lynda Petera, said she was thankful there were still caring people in the community.
"There were a lot of people who left gifts and that show of love mattered to us. We are very, very thankful for their love. It's because of the love of complete strangers that is helping us heal. It has given our whanau a lot of strength."
The collection of toys and flowers were placed in boxes and the family were today taking the gifts to lay on his grave at Urutekawa cemetery at Ngataki in the Far North.
"He's in heaven, he's an angel. All the love the community has shown to this family we will pass on to him."
She said they would sing to Jahquin and tell him of the support shown by the Whangarei community. He was buried on Boxing Day.
The family described the youngest of eight children as a "lovable, cheeky, kind-hearted boy with a great sense of humour". Jahquin was to start at Tikipunga Primary School next year.
He was hit by a vehicle on Mill Rd about 2pm on December 22. Earlier the same day a 6-year-old girl died after a crash on SH12 in the Far North, near Rawene, about 8am.