Hundreds of people have gathered to remember firefighter Dave van Zwanenberg, who died during Cyclone Gabrielle.
On Wednesday, many people came to Muriwai’s Parihoa Farm to celebrate and reflect on the life of van Zwanenberg.
The firefighter was checking on a flooded property on Motutara Rd in Muriwai, Auckland, last Monday when he and fellow firefighter Craig Stevens became trapped in a slip.
Van Zwanenberg’s body was found two days later and Stevens died in hospital last Thursday.
Van Zwanenberg’s wife Amy spoke at the service and said her husband had become memorable in the devastation Cyclone Gabrielle has caused.
“You have become a focal point of the extensive tragedy that so many have experienced in various horrendous ways beginning on the 13th of February,” Amy said.
She said her husband really cared for people.
“You knew how to embrace the simple joys of life and keep perspective of what was really meaningful in this world,” Amy said.
Van Zwanenberg was carried out on an old vintage fire truck, which Amy said their son absolutely loved.
“Sit back and enjoy the ride, darling.”
In her eulogy, Amy said people were attending the service not only to mourn her “incredible husband”, but to also “hold each other in the wake of learning how to live in the face of our battle-scarred little town with our lives turned upside down”.