A Palmerston North woman who died after collapsing in the Shooters bar had celebrated her birthday at the same bar just a few weeks before.
Dearna McLauchlin, 20, was taken to Palmerston North Hospital by ambulance in the early hours of Sunday, but did not survive.
Aidan van Weert, a friend of almost three years, described her as a popular woman with her own style, who was "full of life" and loved a game of pool, as did her boyfriend Ryan McQueen.
McLauchlin, also known as "Andy Attle", died after what police say was a fall.
Van Weert said he was invited to join McLauchlin and a group of friends on the night she died, but was out of town.
Instead, he had heard from mutual friends that she had died.
"[We] can't really believe what happened, everyone's really upset."
Van Weert said friends who were with her in the bar that night told him they thought she had fainted, and people were "dancing all over her" on the packed dance floor.
He was told she had been dancing on a pole on a stage of sorts in the bar, but had come off the pole slowly and was sitting on the stage when she collapsed and fell.
Now they were waiting on an autopsy to tell them how she died, he said. "She was never a girl who left her drinks out, it could be anything."
An "RIP Dearna McLauchlin" tribute page on Facebook created the day McLauchlin died has already got almost 1000 "likes".
Tributes reveal she was a long-time member of the Helen O'Grady Drama Academy, and worked at Domino's Pizza.
Letitia Deacon-Kerr, who was in the bar that night, said she noticed something was amiss when staff appeared to ask the DJ to turn the music off.
Everyone in the bar started to yell their displeasure at the DJ, thinking he had ruined his set, she said. The music restarted a short time later.
Deacon-Kerr didn't see McLauchlin collapse, but she thought she was at the front of the club.
Bar manager Ricky Quirk said his staff were "a bit shattered" by the incident and a couple had asked for some time off.
It was difficult because some of them were of the same age as McLauchlin, he said.
There had been a lot of speculation about how she died, and the bar had CCTV footage that might help clear that up, but he had not seen it yet, he said. The bar was packed on the night in question and the dance floor was crowded, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
The power of googoo eyes (pictures)
Will Yahoo ruin Tumblr?
Three finales, one angry viewer
The vanilla Budget
A day of building in time-lapse video
Monarch magical mystery tour
The Xbox reveal
Calling in The National; their time is up
Books you should read ... in your 20s
The groom's perspective of weddings