As the words to Paparazzi by Lady Gaga came over the speakers, hundreds of mourners gathered donning yellow tributes; flower crowns, tutus and daffodil lapels.

Yellow was the favourite colour of Hannah Teresa Francis, the kind-hearted 11-year-old who tragically died from injuries suffered after a bus rolled near Tūroa skifield on July 28.

Hannah was farewelled at Morrison Funeral Home in West Auckland on Monday afternoon.

Members of Hannah's family and her school community spoke of the tragic loss of such a promising and ambitious young girl, but focus was on the passionate and vibrant life she lived.


Her school friends sat around her small white casket, as family told tales of Hannah's love of animals - especially cats, her creative hobbies of drawing and art, her fascination with elephants and unicorns, and a love of reading.

Hannah's mother Michelle Bruton spoke of the moment her darling daughter was born and the bright blue eyes, compared to sapphires, that adorned her face as a small child.

Hannah was said to have had a thirst for knowledge, always querying the unknown.

She was said to have been very academic, doing well at school and always getting involved in cultural activities, such as the Samoan club.

Her mother said she would be remembered fondly for her kindness, generosity, and her ability to comprehend how others felt.

"She had a warm, kind soul that shone out of her in every way when dealing with people," she said.

Hannah Teresa Francis, 11, was farewelled at an emotional ceremony at Morrison Funeral Home on Monday afternoon.
Hannah Teresa Francis, 11, was farewelled at an emotional ceremony at Morrison Funeral Home on Monday afternoon.

Bruton said there were no words to explain the bond she had with her daughter, and how being Hannah's mother was something she would cherish forever.

"You were only here for such a short time, but made an impact," she said.


"I will see you in every rainbow and sunset."

Hannah's step-father Shane Bruton said he would remember Hannah every time he played loud music is his car, while her Grandmother recalled when Hannah would dress in old ball gowns and perform for the family.

"She was just at the cusp of starting her journey into teenhood and beyond, now the pages will remain blank," she said.

The emotional ceremony continued as further stories of the vibrant, quirky and humorous young girl were told by uncles and aunts, and the words of the poem Look for me in Rainbows were read aloud.

"In the morning sunrise when all the world is new, Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you."

Glen Eden Intermediate School Principal Maree Stavert placed hand-made paper cranes on the coffin as she read tributes from Hannah's classmates.

As a member of Room 19 she was remembered as always putting her best foot forward and giving 100 per cent, being kind and caring, and the little drawings of cats and unicorns she did in her books.

"Hannah was the sun in your day, she will leave a large hole that will never be filled," Stavert said.

Sunnyvale School principal Charmaine Munro said the school community was proud to have had Hannah as part of its family for six years.

"She was a giggling gertie with her friends ... never in trouble, well-mannered, quiet and earnest," she said.

Hannah's family thanked everyone for their kind expressions of love, support and sympathy.
Hannah's family thanked everyone for their kind expressions of love, support and sympathy.

Hannah's stepmother Christina Francis said she would never forget the moment she introduced Hannah to her two stepbrothers Joshua and Caleb.

"The three became best buddies ... she was always the peacemaker who put others' needs before her own," she said.

"She had her father wrapped around her little finger. They were two peas in a pod."

Hannah had dreamt about working with animals and becoming a designer. She was also looking forward to a trip to the United States next year.

"She had planned to eat her way down the American coast and had a list of all the places she wanted to go," Francis said.

"I promise we will live our best lives in your memory."

Hannah's father Matthew Francis was the last to speak, stating that he had been the proudest father since the day she was born.

Francis said the pair always went on lots of adventures, from a day in the park to a scenic flight around Auckland.

"As hard as it is to talk about, Ruapehu holds lots of special memories for us," he said through tears.

"It is where we went for our first family holiday and Hannah was developing into a good little skier.

"There are so many things you won't get to do, but I am so proud of who you are and the legacy you left," he said.

The ceremony ended with a slideshow of photos of Hannah that were played alongside the Pharrell Williams song Happy.

An emotional haka was then performed by classmates and bubbles were blown as final goodbyes were said.

Hannah died after the Ruapehu Alpine Lifts bus she was travelling in with her father and stepbrother crashed just after 2.30pm on the afternoon of July 28.

Witnesses have described to the Herald how the bus hit the side of a bank and then rolled.

Hannah was taken to Waikato Hospital by rescue helicopter, but died en route.

A total of 31 passengers were on board the bus. Eighteen others were injured.