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Dunedin resident John Reynolds said his brother-in-law, Paul Brown (59), was a God-fearing man, a gifted teacher and a loving son, brother, uncle and father.
Mr Brown was killed along with his wife, Diseree (47), and son, Mark (15), in a crash between their Toyota Hiace van and a refrigerated truck on Sunday, June 19.
Mrs Brown’s sister, Divine Dolar (56), and Divine’s daughter, Flordeliza Dolar (19), were also killed in the crash.
Two of Diseree’s sons, Pedro Clariman (26) and Luie Lagud (16), survived.
Mr Clariman’s partner, Amber Chen, and his daughter, Mika (6 months old), were also killed in the collision.
The extended family were returning home to Auckland from the funeral of an elderly aunt of Mr Brown’s which was held in Gore the previous day.
Mr Reynolds said the deaths were absolutely tragic for both the family members of the deceased and the driver of the truck.
Mr Brown was very outgoing, community-minded and "a real genuine person" who everyone loved.
While it might sound like he was reading from a script, Mr Brown really was that sort of person, Mr Reynolds said.
Mr Brown had five children from a previous marriage and was held in high esteem by his extended family.
In Auckland Mr Brown taught special needs children at Parkside school.
"He was quite talented at it apparently," Mr Reynolds said.
Mr Brown grew up in Dunedin and left about 20 years ago.
He had moved to Oamaru, where he was highly involved in church circles and opened up a pizza restaurant.
Several years later, Mr Brown moved to the North Island.
"He had a full-on life," Mr Reynolds said.
Mr Reynolds said his whole family was still shell-shocked about the deaths.
When he spoke to Mr Brown before his aunt’s funeral, his brother-in-law seemed excited about the future.
Funeral arrangements were being made for Mr Brown and other members of his family to be sent off together.
The support and communication the family had received from police had been "absolutely fantastic", Mr Reynolds said.