Get on with the job, play fair but play hard was how Jamie Johnston lived during the all-too-short 15 years of his life.

The youngster was farewelled by a 2000-strong crowd at Trident High School yesterday.
Jamie was killed when his gun accidentally went off while he and two mates were duck hunting on the outskirts of Whakatane on Sunday.

But far from shying away from his duck-shooting exploits, many at the funeral spoke of Jamie's love of all things outdoors and how excited he would get in the lead-up to the duck hunting season.

Through a family member, Jamie's dad Colin "Bones" Johnston said Jamie would have his "duck-shooting kit" ready weeks before opening day and got very annoying with his duck caller.


One of the boys who was with Jamie that morning said May 10 was the worst day of his life.

"I'll hold on to the good times and I'll see you again."

The youngest of three sons to Mr Johnston and Ginny Bellamy, Jamie's love of hunting was equalled by his passion for both whitebaiting and rugby.

His older brothers Alex and Joe, had started playing for Trident High School while in Year 11, and Jamie had followed suit. Mr Johnston had been involved in coaching rugby at Trident for a decade while Ms Bellamy teaches at the school .

Testament to the esteem he was held in on the rugby field was representation from King's College where Joe Johnston has a rugby scholarship, Whakatane High School, Bethlehem College who Trident were to play this weekend, and Edgecumbe College.

Whakatane High School staff and students also joined Trident in the service hymn He Honore and in a rousing haka at the conclusion of the service.

Brother Alex, who admitted there were many stories he could share about his brother but probably not in front of their mother, had everyone laughing when he told of the first time he allowed Jamie in the driving seat of his Hilux.

"Most of the time he was driving there were only two tyres on the ground. I remember the grin on his face and the sparkle in his eye when he turned around and saw Joe and I clinging on in terror - that's how I will choose to remember my brother."


Jamie's teachers described him as a confident youngster who had the gift of being able to unify people .

"People liked Jamie because he liked everyone," one teacher said.

Ms Bellamy was last to speak and thanked everyone for the outpouring of love and support she and her family had received .

"The past few days have been heart-breaking and our family will never be the same again," she said. "But I cannot thank everyone enough for all that has been done for us and the love that has been shown."