John Bonner and his partner Arna Hutton devoted their lives to making sure the three sons they brought into the world were loved and protected.
Hutton can still love their sons, but she can't protect them from the tragedy that occurred just 750 metres from their Te Atatu Peninsula home on Thursday night, when Bonner was killed while cycling.
The 51-year-old Auckland City Mission social worker died at the scene after the 8.10pm crash with a car on Te Atatu Rd — the site of requests from cycling groups for safety improvements, with Bonner's death described by one cycling advocate as a "preventable tragedy".
At the couple's nearby home, Hutton spoke to the Herald yesterday afternoon about the loss of the man she described as her "kindred spirit" and the "most wonderful father" to their sons, aged 13, 15 and 17.
"It's a huge loss for our family. It's just enormous for the wellbeing of our children, who we have spent every moment ensuring that they are kept well and loved and protected.
"We've tried to protect them all this time and we've done a really good job and now we can't protect them from this."
Hutton doesn't know the details of what happened after her partner went for a bike ride, like so many, on a warm summer's evening.
Police are investigating and she didn't want to comment on what might have gone wrong.
But she did want to talk about the man she first met in 1997, when both were studying social work at Unitec.
He loved the outdoors and ham radio and his workmates. Most of all, he loved his family.
"He's been just the most wonderful father to those boys. He just loves them dearly. They lit up his life every day."
A "compassionate and generous soul", he was also devoted to those less fortunate, working with people trying to beat addiction, she said.
"He had a lot of compassion for the people on the streets."
Bonner's funeral will take place at Haven Falls Funeral Home in Henderson at 11am on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the road where Bonner died has been the subject of requests from cycling groups for safety improvements, with $40,000 funding for an alternative route for cyclists approved in February.
Henderson-Massey Local Board chairman Shane Henderson said an alternative pathway was planned around part of Harbourview Orangihina Park, but rights to cross land were still be negotiated with the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Cycling advocacy group Bike Te Atatu had also asked for a traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossing on the four-lane road.
"In the wake of this [tragedy] we really need to keep talking to Bike Te Atatu ... and AT [Auckland Transport] too," Henderson said.
Bike Te Atatu member Carol Green said Bonner died at a part of the cycleway between Cellarmans St and Vinograd Dr where cyclists sometimes need to cross four lanes of traffic.
The 600-strong group and others had lobbied since at least 2012 for a safe crossing point.
"It's 1.1km between safe crossings and this happened halfway."
Peninsula residents described the existing pedestrian crossing island as the "pedestrian jail".
"You can get stuck in it for a long time. You see people with [baby] buggies rushing across."
Driver behaviour was generally good, but the road design — wide and straight — encouraged speeding.
The cause wasn't yet known, but either way, she felt for everyone affected, including the driver.
"It's one of those human errors ... the problem is the road design doesn't allow for human error."
Bike Auckland chairwoman Barb Cuthbert said the tragedy was preventable.
"There is a glaring gap in the local network and had it been addressed [Bonner] might be alive today. The community has been asking for years for a safer crossing at this point."
Auckland Transport walking, cycling and road safety manager Kathryn King confirmed the Auckland Council-controlled organisation had received requests from Bike Te Atatu for improved cycle infrastructure.
"We are acting on this. Safe cycling infrastructure in Te Atatu Peninsula is a priority in Auckland Transport's proposed investment programme for cycling 2018–2028.
"The improvements are proposed within the first three years of the programme, dependent on funding."