Former All Black Jerry Collins is to be farewelled at a public funeral service in Porirua next week.
Jerry and his partner Alana Madill were tragically killed in a car accident in France last week. Their baby daughter Ayla remains in a critical condition in hospital.
Jerry's manager and Collins family spokesperson Tim Castle said Jerry's funeral service would be held at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua at 10am next Wednesday and members of the public were welcome to attend.
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"The family knows that Jerry was loved and admired by the people of his hometown of Porirua and beyond. He was one of them and played a big role in the community. The family understands and knows very well that many people want to join them in paying tribute and showing their love and respect for him," Mr Castle said.
Mr Castle said the family also wanted to acknowledge Porirua City Council who had provided "invaluable assistance" in helping organise the funeral, including making Te Rauparaha Arena available for the service.
"The Porirua and Wellington communities - as well as people from all around New Zealand and overseas - have rallied around the family as they go through this difficult time and they again would like to pass on their heartfelt thanks for that support. It has given them great comfort."
Mr Castle said Jerry's body will be accompanied home to New Zealand over the next few days by a small group, including his cousin and fellow former All Black Tana Umaga and dear friends former All Black Chris Masoe and his wife Gemma and Stevenson Malotu'upule.
He will then be looked after by the family before the funeral on Wednesday. Mr Castle also said the family had also respectfully asked for privacy from the public and media around Jerry's return to the country.
Following the funeral service at Te Rauparaha Arena, Jerry will be buried in a ceremony for extended family and friends.
Mr Castle said Alana's family were in France to organise her funeral arrangements and were also keeping vigil at the hospital with baby Ayla.