The woman who died in tragic circumstances at a Tauranga marae has been described as "everyone's mum" and a leader in her work with troubled youth.
Ariana Eva Mahu died at Huria Marae in Judea on Friday after police were called. She had allegedly suffered critical injuries to her neck.
The advocate for troubled youth and supporter of mana Maori spent many of her younger years in Taranaki before moving to Tauranga.
Friends and family described the 37-year-old as a kind spirit who brought happiness to the community.
"In a time of need she was everyone's mum, sister, aunty, cousin. Her spirit brought happiness and comfort in everyone from our new borns to our kuia and kaumatua," cousin Jacqueline Power told Fairfax.
One nephew described Mahu as a beautiful soul who made everyone laugh and smile.
"Aunty, you were such a beautiful soulful person. You always made us all smile that always shines the light and a big heart."
In her early years, Mahu achieved fluency in te teo Maori while attending Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tamarongo in Opunake before moving on to become a nurturing figure at the Wairoa Marae in Tauranga.
After her tragic death, social media lit up with tributes for Mahu, many saying she was beautiful inside and out.
"To such a beautiful soul you were, Ariana Mahu. The hearts of Tauranga Moana grieve for you. You were such a gentle, kind lady, always so friendly, loving and cheerful," one person said.
"Rest in paradise... such a beautiful lady inside and out. Forever grateful and blessed to have been a part of your life. Forever in our hearts," another wrote.
"Your memory we will always treasure, in our hearts you will stay forever."
Others showed the emotional impact of Mahu's death.
"There are no words to explain the cry of a son for his mother ... it absolutely tore my heart out of my body ... The grief is overwhelming," one person expressed.
Mahu was farewelled on Tuesday.
A 21-year-old man has been charged with murder and appeared in the Tauranga District Court on Friday.
He has been granted interim name suppression and will reappear on March 7 at the High Court in Tauranga.