More than 200 people turned out to at Paretene Te Manu Marae in Ngunguru today to farewell Shannon Tana from Whangārei.
Tana passed away in a motorcycle crash in Australia on Saturday, 3rd of August while he was out on a short ride on his much loved Harley Davidson. Tana was taken to Kalgoorlie Hospital but died of his injuries.
His cousin Lenna Milton says having so much support at the tangihanga today has been a testament to the type of man that Tana was, "and what an amazing impact he's had on people here growing up but also in Aussie."
Tana has been described as a lovable, gentle giant who would go out of his way to help others.
His cousin, John Tana says, "he was a man of integrity, a man of love. He had a big heart massive heart and his capacity to just help people was just awesome."
His sister Sharlaine says, "He was just such an awesome man, my brother, he was just wonderful."
$20,000 raised for Shannon Tana to be returned home to Ngunguru
Tana had been living in Australia for 15 years. His whānau needed $9,000 to bring his body back and sought financial support from the public. More than $20,000 has been donated and a Kalgoorlie Domino's Pizza franchise also pitched in, donating $3 from every pizza sold last Friday.
"Words can't really describe the feeling, how it feels, it's just so overwhelming and it's amazing how people come together, it's a really strong support network," says his sister.
His cousin Leon Huia Pitt says, "Shan was a proud man. He loved his family and its been an absolute pleasure. I followed him over from Perth. Its been an absolute pleasure to bring him home and take him up to our urupa today to his final resting place in Ngunguru."
Tana and his relatives all grew up together at their homestead in Ngunguru. Family and motorcycles were two of Tana's great loves.
Milton says, "From a really young age he always said he wanted to own a Harley. That was his dream."
He was also co-owner of the Anytime Fitness gym franchise in Kalgoorlie and he welcomed anyone into his home, says John Tana.
"In Australia, no matter who it was he brought people into this home, clothes them and fed them and also gave them mahi and work, and he just had open arms."
Milton says, "I think that's a legacy that Shan will leave, that he's fathered children that weren't his own and that he'd like to see that same aroha, that same love carried on and shared."
Tana will be remembered dearly by his wife, children, whānau and friends.