Kiwi's ashes released in Sydney bay
The last photograph Casey Kinnaird sent her parents showed sunrise from Sydney’s Cronulla foreshore.
This morning "Crock" and Jannine stood on those same sands as their eldest daughter's ashes were spread in the waters she immersed herself in.
Her view of daybreak on January 11, taken shortly before she embarked on a training ride ahead of next month's Taupo Ironman, was a focal point of the Whanganui-born businesswoman's memorial service in Sydney.
Casey Kinnaird, 35, collided with a car when she drifted around a corner at high speed at Waterfall, in Sydney's south, while biking with other triathletes. They comforted her before emergency services arrived.
She sustained serious injuries and also suffered a stroke. Once her whanau arrived from New Zealand a decision was made to switch off her life support and donate her vital organs two days after she was airlifted to hospital.
That final communication with her parents - reproduced in the service sheet - was accompanied by the text: "Awesome sunrise! Off to ride 120kms, great start to the day! Love you xoxox"
Her Australian friends and Kiwi relatives crammed the Elouera Surf Life Saving Club at 6.30am. They then walked to the sands where about 30 changed into swimming gear, and followed an inflatable carrying Casey Kinnaird's husband, Matt McBrearty.
Beyond the breakers they assembled in a circle as McBrearty scattered his wife's ashes on the waves.
Last month the financial planner's funeral was held in Whanganui but she was always destined to return to Cronulla, her adopted home.
"This is where she wanted to be, this is where her life was since '98. She loved the place," Kinnaird told Fairfax Media as the last swimmers returned to shore.
"For her to come back to this place .... it's what she wanted."
Earlier, friends, acquaintances and loved ones recalled how Casey Kinnaird lifted those around her, whether they be touch football teammates, fellow multi-sport athletes, the homeless in Cambodia or aspiring businesswomen she mentored through the League of Extraordinary Women.
Summing up her attitude to life, ‘‘Crook’’ Kinnaird described his daughter's philosophy as "just get on and do it, you only fail if you don't try.’’
"For us to be standing up here talking about our girl and listening to the comments is hugely, hugely humbling. We can't thank you enough for the support you've shown us."
He said it was gratifying to see so many people take to the water to support McBrearty and her younger siblings Jevada and Alycia.
"She wasn't our own .... for them to be able to do that and show their respects in that way is huge."
Anthony Peridis was riding with Casey Kinnaird when the crash occurred and will compete in Taupo to honour her memory.
"In 22 days she's still going to be there with me, in Taupo, and I really hope the rest of my Kiwi family will be as well," he told the assembly.
"Anthony," said Kinnaird, "has been our rock over this side".
"With losing Casey he's sort of lost half of his will to carry on but we kicked him into gear again and he's back on track.
"He's put her name on his running gear. She's running with him."
Meanwhile, although she was a proud New Zealander, Kinnaird said Casey's ceremony was not staged to coincide with Waitangi Day.
"It's Alycia's birthday," he explained, "and six was also her number when she played touch."