"Piwi" King got her nickname from the movie Little Rascals.

According to her whānau, not only did she look a little like one of the characters of the 1994 movie when she was born, she also acted like a little rascal at times.

A celebration of life was held for the Kawerau mother-of-one last week after her death as a result of a workplace incident at Sequal Lumber, in Kawerau, on Friday, October 5.

The death of 39-year-old Melanie Leanne King has been referred to the coroner and WorkSafe was investigating the incident.


King's sister, who told the Rotorua Daily Post she only wanted to be referred to as "Peaches", said her sister brought everyone together in death just as she had in life.

"We've had people travel from all over the globe to farewell our sister. Those who couldn't make it have sent their thoughts and prayers," Peaches said.

King went to school in Edgecumbe and later went on to study at Waikato University. But it was her love of sport that saw her make a huge number of friends.

"She played netball, rugby, league, touch, hockey, basketball, squash and golf – some at representative level."

She was also remembered for her huge smile. A smile, family say, that was inherited from her dad.

"She had a smile that lit up a room, it drew you in and always made you feel welcome."

Peaches said King had been working at Sequal for about three years and loved her job.

"From what I understand she was a much loved employee who pretty much ruled the roost."


Family said Sequal had been nothing but "absolutely supportive" since the incident and they did not harbour any ill feeling toward the company.

"We know everyone there has been deeply affected by her death, just as we have been."

She said there was a massive hole where King had once been. "As a family we will all do our best to fill that space, especially with her daughter Keesha who is currently studying
dance at Auckland University.

"We want to thank all our friends and whānau who have wrapped us in love during this journey, we have been overwhelmed by the support.

"It was one of Piwi's close friends who, at her funeral, said it was only Piwi who could have brought us all together again."