Mourners pay tribute to Connor Morris

Gang members gather ahead of Mr Morris' funeral this morning. Photo: NZ Herald/Brett Phibbs
Gang members gather ahead of Mr Morris' funeral this morning. Photo: NZ Herald/Brett Phibbs
More than one hundred bikes lined the street outside a gang headquarters in Auckland as mourners turned out to pay tribute to Connor Morris.

The long-term boyfriend of Millie Elder-Holmes - daughter of the late Sir Paul Holmes - died after a brawl overnight on Saturday in west Auckland.

He will be laid to rest at Waikumete Crematorium in Glen Eden after a funeral service at a gym in Ellerslie which started at 10.15am.

Dozens of patched gang members have already gathered at the Fight Club 88 gym where Mr Morris' body has lain this week.

His father is prominent Head Hunters member Chris Morris.

Millie Elder-Holmes was not seen entering the club this morning.

Motorcycles line the kerb opposite the gang club, where members of the east and west chapters formally greeted each other before going inside.

Bystanders joined the large crowd of mourners standing outside.

Some passersby took taken up spots across the street from the club, while others walked slowly past, looking at the long line of motorbikes.

Mourners, many in gang colours of black and red, spilled out onto Marua Rd, and up the steps of a building next door to the club which overlooks the entrance of the gym and the waiting hearse.

A New Zealand flag was flying at half mast from the club, against a clear blue sky.

Gang members looked down from a rooftop terrace as a hearse pulled up, driven by a patched Head Hunter, ready to take Mr Morris' coffin after the funeral service.

Sir Paul's widow, Deborah, Lady Holmes and the broadcaster's son Reuben arrived to pay their respects to Mr Morris.

Dressed in black, they walked up the street, passed waiting media, and into the club.

As more gang members arrived the streets around the club were taken up by motorbikes.

More than 100 bikes lined the street in front of the club. A police car was parked down the street and a helicopter flew overhead.

The sunny winter morning was replaced by grey clouds and rain as the funeral service was about to begin.

Earlier this morning, people were seen emerging from the club with sleeping bags, appearing to have stayed overnight with Mr Morris' body.

A gang member on a motorbike also drove out of the property.

Last night he family of Millie Elder-Holmes paid tribute to their "second son", Connor Morris.

Ms Elder-Holmes' mother, Dr Hinemoa Elder, posted a photo of Mr Morris and her daughter on her Facebook page.

One of her comments about the photo showed it was for her daughter's birthday last May.

"Connor loved the whole experience, we will always love you Connor Morris RIP my darling," she wrote.

Dr Elder told Fairfax Media that Mr Morris was a "vibrant young man, full of energy and fun".

"He was our second son, a brother to Reuben, and we could see he and Millie were soulmates. He was such a positive force in our whanau.

"He had a great sense of humour, he made us laugh!"

She also said her daughter and Mr Morris had a special bond.

"It seemed to us that they had saved each other's lives [from addiction to P] and they were generous in sharing the power of their love and commitment to each other.

"Connor will always be remembered. Our hearts are with our girl, Connor's precious parents, whanau and local community. We all share the extraordinary pain of his tragic passing."

Reuben, son of Dr Elder and the late broadcaster Sir Paul Holmes, said he would miss his sister's partner.

"Connor was a very special man ... He was an understanding, humble and beautiful person."

A Givealittle donation page has been set up for Ms Elder-Holmes. At 5pm yesterday, it had gathered more than $1000.

 

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