Rutger Hale and Danielle
Oylear's love story began with a chance meeting in a bar, but
it was a cruel twist that tore them apart, his funeral in
Auckland was told yesterday.
The couple met in Queenstown in 2012, while they were both
looking for adventure - she from her native Alaska and he,
from Auckland, who was never happy being still, and ready to
tackle nature head on.
Mr Hale, 22, was killed last Thursday when he was struck in
the head by an object that smashed through the windscreen
while he was driving with Ms Oylear, 26, near Wanaka. She
grabbed the steering wheel and managed to get his foot off
the accelerator to stop the Subaru station wagon.
Yesterday, she spoke directly to him in an emotional tribute.
"You told me to love life and to live fully ... and to chase
He had shown her how to "open my eyes" to the world around
them by the way he embraced life and lived for each moment.
"You enjoyed life just like you wanted it to be." Even though
they were now apart, she would now see him "in every moment".
Their initial meeting in the Queenstown bar came about after
Mr Hale delayed a tramp as he waited for news about an ill
They later worked in and explored Tasmania, flew to the
United States and travelled through Canada to Ms Oylear's
home in Alaska.
Mr Hale's grandmother Marilyn Matthew said "he was an amazing
young man" whose life had been cut short far too soon. "It's
not supposed to happen like this."
About 150 mourners at the Manukau Memorial Gardens heard that
the couple had been back in New Zealand only a short time but
had found jobs, and there was talk of a wedding.
Mr Hale's mother Lisa said she was "humbled I got to share my
life with you". She spoke of his love of the outdoors that
was never far away and began when he was a young boy, walking
with her "for miles" while she was pregnant with his sister
A favourite saying was printed on the back of his service
sheet: "Learn to do what you want to do. Live your dreams,
make them a reality, take them from the place of imaginings
and into the world of happenings."
- Andrew Koubaridis