More than 300 mourners gathered in the hall at Evans Bay Intermediate School to remember the life of 12-year-old meningococcal victim Amanda Crook-Barker.
Amanda's mother Lisa Crook spoke of the heartache of losing her eldest child - on the day she should instead have been celebrating her 33rd birthday.
"Over the last few years Mandy grew from a girl into a lovely young woman. I remember looking at Mandy [recently] and thinking, wow, she's growing up ... and she's going to be amazing. As Mandy grew up, she became loved by everyone. We all adored her. She was perfect.
"[But] on the third of September, my heart broke and a part of it was lost. On the third of September, something very precious was taken from me and my family ..." Ms Crook said.
Amanda had enjoyed an eventful last weekend, before being overrun by the disease in a matter of hours.
She had attended her school disco on Friday night and a friend's birthday party on Saturday, before spending Sunday with her dad.
Then, feeling "a little bit sick" on Monday, she took the day off school.
She developed a rash at 3pm, and by 5pm she was dead.
Scott Barker, who spent Sunday - Father's Day - with his daughter before she died on Monday, said the loss of Amanda had been profound.
"I've been lucky to have some good things in my life, but my beautiful daughter was by far the best thing of all. Mandy made me a better person. As a father I was so proud."
As her parents read their eulogies, many students sobbed, comforted by one another.
Their tears, and the pictures, posters and notes to Amanda adorning the walls of the school hall, shined as testament to the popularity of a girl teachers described as a school role model.
And after the ceremony, her white coffin took on the same cherished appearance, as friends and family took black marker pens and scrawled final messages of love and respect to "Mandy'' - before the coffin was taken to Makara cemetery for interment.
Earlier this week Ms Crook called for parents to be vigilant against the illness that stole her daughter.
"I wouldn't wish this on anyone. To see what happened to Mandy, it's your worst nightmare."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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