He was a little kid with a huge heart, and he was farewelled with passion at his funeral at the weekend.
The Greymouth funeral for Matthew Gunter, 15, a Nelson College boarder, was held at the weekend, attended by more than 400 mourners including about 60 students from Nelson College.
Matthew died in Christchurch Hospital last Tuesday, after he had stopped breathing following an operation to remove his appendix.
The exact cause of death has not yet been determined, and the case has been referred to the coroner.
His father, David Gunter, said the level of support from the community and the school since then had been incredible.
Nelson College students and staff opened the ceremony with a moving school haka. There would not have been a dry eye in the house, Mr Gunter said.
''It was amazing, very powerful, and I think Matthew would have really loved it.''
The ceremony then saw friends, family, and school staff speak about the boy, who headmaster Gary O'Shea last week described as a ''little battler''.
An honour guard from the school then sang the school song, and everyone placed a fern on his coffin, Mr Gunter said.
A Facebook page, RIP Matt Gunter, has attracted close to 1900 likes, with friends and family sharing experiences and stories of Matthew over his life.
He had overcome learning difficulties to pass NCEA Level One with 112 credits.
- The Nelson Mail