Ethan Fitzpatrick would "take his light and shine it in the darkness of this world".
But that light was lost when the 16-year-old died during a Tarawera High School trip at Lake Rotomā two months ago.
Ethan had been snorkelling at Lake Rotomā and suffered a medical event. His cause of death was still to be confirmed by the Coroner.
Described as positive, loving and having a "heart of gold", Ethan was the light of his mother's life.
As the "funny" and "intelligent" young man lay in his coffin being carried out from his funeral in Kawerau, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country was going into Covid-19 alert level 3.
When the country went into lockdown, Ethan's mum Barbara Kinley was alone, mourning her "light" and unable to visit his grave.
"As hard as it is to now spend every day apart from him - I have to struggle to remind myself that he's okay," Kinley said.
"He was so amazing. He's kind, gentle, loving, generous, patient, empathetic, funny, intelligent, helpful - so many things.
"He loved music - teaching himself to play the keyboard. He developed a strong interest in using microscopes and studying samples of water for different life forms."
She described him as someone who would "take his light and shine it in the darkness of this world".
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Ethan was particularly interested in forensics and when he died he was doing curriculum-based training for NZ Police and Defence Force careers.
While dealing with the loss of her son, Kinley's car was stolen late last month just as she was starting to save for Ethan's headstone and unveiling.
Since Ethan's death Kinley has been supported by close friends such as Darnell Rumbal.
"Losing a child - I couldn't even imagine that," Rumbal said.
When Kinley's car was stolen she called Rumbal at 5am.
Rumbal's initial response was shock.
"What a blow, after blow, after blow ... and that's just so much financial pressure," Rumbal told the Rotorua Daily Post.
She started an online fundraiser to help Kinley replace her car and pay for a headstone two weeks ago - and this week the "fabulous" tally rose to more than $5000.
"She [Kinley] is a really loving and generous woman as well, she would give the shirt off her back to people so it's really nice that that's being acknowledged.
"It [Ethan's death] impacted our community quite hard and I think for people to be able to do something physically has benefited for them as well," she said.
"It's made them feel useful because you don't feel very useful when someone loses a child."
Rumbal said Ethan was "just the most positive, loving, humorous guy".
"He had a heart of gold, he was just an awesome kid."
The Ministry of Education said it remained in contact with Tarawera High School following Ethan's death.
"The school and the Kawerau community are working together to provide a range of support to students, staff and whānau."