THE Governor-General has paid a moving tribute to Jonah Lomu, telling thousands of mourners "we will not see the likes of him again".
Sir Jerry Mateparae told the crowd at the Vodafone Events Centre in South Auckland that the service was a solemn occasion but also a celebration.
"And Jonah's life is worth celebrating," he said.
Jonah would be remembered for his rugby prowess but also for his kindness and humility. He was strong despite being dealt tough cards, he said.
"He impressed us with his courage, his humility, his grace under pressure ...his determination to use his influence and his mana for the benefit of others was exemplary.
"A great Totara has been cut down. And we will not see the likes of him again."
Rugby stars, Lomu family members, community leaders and fans packed into the events centre for the Aho Faka Famili service.
Lomu's widow Nadene and sons Dhyreille and Brayley - wearing All Black jerseys with Lomu on the back - were supported by other family members as they made their way into the centre.
Lomu's body arrived in a black hearse laden with flowers and draped in a traditional Pasifika cloth.
Nadene Lomu's father Mervyn Quirk said he loved Lomu as a son.
"This is a time of great sorrow, having lost a dear son. Jonah graced the rugby fields of the world and that's when I'm sure many of us got to know this young man and wished to know him more, because of the joy and pleasure that he brought to all who saw him play."
- NZ Herald
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