Nahne Marsters had the "spirit of a lion".
The Rotorua woman was strong, loving and knew what she wanted, even in her final days when she told her family her fight was over.
Tungane (Nahne) Marsters, 32, died on Tuesday after a year-long cancer battle.
Her mum Koringo Marsters said her daughter was strong throughout the fight.
"She had the spirit of a lion ... Even though outside her body was sick, her mind was still strong.
"When it was time to go she told us. She let us know. She told us she'd had enough and to let her go."
Nahne's siblings gathered at the family home this week to say their farewells before she is buried today.
Her brother Tuarau Marsters said she was the godmother to many of her nieces and nephews.
"Even though she didn't have children of her own she had a motherly presence and our children were her children.
"She really loved family celebrations, she was always part of it and always going above and beyond."
Her sister Kalani Marsters said Nahne loved her nieces and nephews and was there for many of their births.
"She treated them like they were her own, growled them like they were her own and loved them like they were her own.
"For me, where my hurt comes from is not that she has left us physically but what she will be missing out on, what our kids will be missing out on and what her life would have been."
Her brother Jacob Marsters said Nahne "had a presence about her" that attracted people to her. Even though she was the baby of the family, she was in charge.
"If she wasn't happy the family wasn't happy."
Nahne's partner Jaden Melkeer said she was strong, both physically and mentally.
"She was one person that would be there for anyone even if she didn't like them. She gave a hundy at everything she did."
Mum Koringo said Nahne got some of her strength from the people she surrounded herself with throughout life.
"She had this confidence ... and she gave it to everyone else too.
"I'm afraid to let go but we have to ... she lives in all of us, her presence is in all of us."
'A collector of friends'
Sui Fiaola has known Nahne since they were about 4. They went through Kawaha Point School and Western Heights High School together and she is one of Nahne's best friends.
Fiaola said Nahne was a natural athlete throughout school but also creative.
"She was determined and competitive and when you're like that your whole life that comes through in your cancer fight."
She described Nahne as "headstrong, but not rude" and someone who stood up for what she believed in.
Another close friend Maureen Matthews said Nahne was loyal and always had everyone's best intentions at heart.
"She was a reflection of her family. The love they have for her was the love she showed for everyone else.
"She was like a collector of friends. No matter what, you could rely on her to be there for everything."
Fiaola chimes in: "And even for nothing, no judgment, just to sit there and listen."
Nahne was a foundation member of Crossfit Rotorua and the gym ran a fundraiser for her in March 2021.
Owner Munro Waerea said Nahne, who held many weightlifting records at the gym, was a "one of a kind, a rare gem" and she had a "massive impact on all who were lucky enough to meet her".
"She had a gentle heart and beautiful soul yet the power and strength was second to none, evident in all her weightlifting records at Crossfit Rotorua.
"Her infectious smile and laugh, she was liked and loved by all. She could be the centre of the party, the shoulder to cry on or the saviour who carried you to bed. A jigsaw piece that fitted in so well in many different circles. A good genuine person."
Waerea said Nahne would forever have a special place at the gym, be missed immensely and be forever in hearts.
"She was our social planner, our inspiration to lift, our aunty Nahne.
"She was taken way too early, heaven must have been in need of a loving, caring and strong wāhine."
Nahne was diagnosed in January last year after experiencing sporadic stabbing pains in her back in July 2020. Her pain escalated to the point that in December that year doctors booked her for an ultrasound.
A month before the appointment, the pain became so excruciating she ended up in the emergency department. She went private and booked a scan straight away at her own cost.
After the scan, she was immediately told to go to the emergency department where a January 11 CT scan revealed an inoperable gallbladder tumour, liver tumour and spots on her lungs.
Nahne was positive throughout her battle. In March she told the Rotorua Daily Post she didn't want sympathy and was on a mission to "kick cancer's butt".
"I can't deal with people feeling sorry for me, I'm not that kind of person. I don't want your pity, I want your positive energy."
The last time she spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post was in December last year.
She was looking forward to spending Christmas with family and her focus for 2022 was "being positive and having a positive outlook on the future to come".
Friends and whānau backed her throughout her journey by sharing purple hearts on social media to show they were thinking of her.
Her gym Crossfit Rotorua held a fundraiser in March raising more than $8300.
In December gym friend Polly Playle raised $5050 by running 5km each day for 20 days including Christmas. She started on December 7, and on December 27 she shaved her head and donated the hair to Freedom Hair.
Nahne is the youngest daughter of Tearaia and Koringo Marsters, partner to Jaden Melkeer, and sibling of Tearaia (deceased), Jacob, Tuarau, Theresa and Kalani. She will be buried next to Tearaia at Kauae Cemetery today.