Time and time again, Laurie Durand was shoulder tapped for honours or awards.
But each time, he refused. That limelight stuff wasn't for him.
But the establishment of a fund in his name means his legacy to help improve the lives of youth can live on.
The highly respected Rotorua youth advocate died in a car crash on March 25 on State Highway 30 at Lake Rotoma.
His death sent shockwaves around Rotorua community circles as the city mourned a great leader who had turned around the lives of hundreds of youth in his decades of service.
A memorial day is being held tomorrow at Lake Ōkāreka in honour of the tireless worker.
Durand, 70, used his expertise and knowledge in the outdoors, particularly waka ama, to help youths mainly through his 20 years being at the helm of Te Waiariki Purea Trust and a stint with the Rotorua Youth Centre.
His wife of 35 years, Barbara MacLennan, said it was hard to adjust to life without Durand but it was nice to know his memory would be kept alive forever through the establishment of the Laurie Durand Ohi Rangatahi Fund.
The fund will be invested and the interest each year will be put into an annual grant.
MacLennan said the purpose of the fund was to support kaupapa-based youth work practice and practitioners.
"Laurie was forever dedicated to coaching, mentoring and training others who committed themselves to helping rangatahi and whānau to thrive."
She said school wasn't a great experience for him but when the YMCA recognised his talent as a young leader, they supported him through a tertiary education level Diploma in Youth and Community Work and he valued that opportunity.
"Throughout his career, Laurie created learning opportunities for others. He was big on youth work being purposeful and having strong ethics and values at its heart.
"This fund is all about continuing Laurie's legacy of supporting youth work practice, and practitioners. Contributions to the fund are welcomed - the bigger we can build it, the higher the level each annual distribution can be."
So far, more than $50,000 has been donated to the Laurie Durand Ohi Rangatahi Fund, administered by the Geyser Community Foundation. Donations were mostly through contributions from Rotorua Trust and Te Waiariki Purea Trust, said Rotorua Trust chairman Stewart Edward.
He said it was an honour for the trust to give to the fund as it meant Durand's legacy could live on.
"Laurie didn't want any public recognition. This is a way to keep his name in perpetuity to do with youth."
Funds have also been donated by friends and whānau immediately following Durand's death in lieu of flowers.
Saturday's memorial day is being put on by Te Waiariki Purea Trust alongside Waka Ama NZ. It will take place between 9am and 3pm and will start with a whakatau (welcome) followed by a waka tete exhibition at 10.30am.
At 11am there will be a "paddle out for Laurie" on the lake for anyone to join in their waka, canoe or kayak. From midday onwards, there will be waka ama racing.
Those attending can make donations to the Laurie Durand Ohi Rangatahi Fund.
Anyone wanting to donate to the fund online is encouraged to go to: https://geysercf.org.nz/help-keep-lauries-memory-alive-forever/