Hundreds mourn Felipe
Hundreds turned out to pay their respects to Brazilian student Felipe Melo who was bid farewell at Spotswood College yesterday.
The 17-year-old is the only one who has been found since he and fellow student, Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye, 17, and their Topec instructor Bryce Jourdain, 42, were swept out to sea during a rock climbing tragedy on August 8.
Felipe's parents, brother and sister were unable to make the journey from their home in Brazil to New Plymouth but were represented by Felipe's two uncles, Claudio Melo and Jose Martins.
The funeral held at 1pm today was attended by a number of dignitaries including Brazil's ambassador to New Zealand, Eduardo Gradilone, who spoke during the service.
Felipe's host family the Bryans, Spotwood College principal Mark Bowden, friends of Felipe's, Adriana Franca, Lucas Berado and Janos Wichterich along with Director of International Studies, Gloria Holland, all shared memories of their time with the boy with the "cheeky grin''.
The teenager's ashes will be shared between his host family in New Plymouth and his own family back in Brazil.
Mr Bowden said having the funeral at the college at the request of the family was very special.
''There's a message here for the kids and it's one I think Felipe would want and that's get on and live your life,'' he said.
''If we can't learn from the tragedy what can we learn from?''
Following the service Felipe's host mother, Virginia Bryan, said she thought there would be a large turn out.
''Felipe was very popular and very well liked,'' she said.
The Bryans plan to have a private scattering of their Brazilian son's ashes when Felipe's host brother, Steven Bryan, returns from Tasmania.
''Steven played a large part in Felipe's time here so we will wait until he is home,'' Mrs Bryan said.
Taranaki Daily News