Tasha Tasmania is a childhood friend of Lomu, and has been close with him since he moved to Mangere from Tonga when he was about 4-years-old.
They lived in the same neighbourhood and attended Favona Primary School together.
"Jonah would show up every morning at 7.30am and pick my sisters up and carry their bags all the way to school and home again. He was a gentleman," she said.
"There are so many small things like that that people don't know. We listen to the stories of the All Blacks, but these are the stories we know."
Ms Tasmania, now chairwoman of the Māngere East Hawks rugby league club where Lomu played for two seasons, said the star always came back to visit.
"Jonah would always come back to Mangere and he did a lot of wonderful, fantastic things for our community. He was someone for our younger generation to look up to and strive to be something as great as Jonah.
"He would always tell them, 'Never give up, always believe in yourself. I grew up here in this area and look where I am - so never give up'."
The whole community was in mourning, Ms Tasmania said.
"It was really hard to hear of his passing. When I spoke to him earlier this year he said, 'I want to live, I want to be here for my children and my wife and my family and just live my life to fullest'.
"He didn't want this to end up like this. He's still so young."
Lomu would always pop in to visit, and often spoke of how much he loved his wife and sons, she said.
"Jonah doesn't call, he just shows up. We had a very comfortable friendship and I am just shocked, really shocked.
"His boys were everything. His boys opened his eyes to the world and what life had to offer. They brought hope for him and they gave him life.
"They really gave him more out of life and as for his wife, he would say, 'Mate, I am so proud to have her on my arm. She keeps me grounded."