Hundreds farewell teen who was 'simply like no other'

Ross Blackie would always introduce his daughter, Zara, to people as Zara Joy.

"I always did because you were my Zara and you were my joy,'' he told mourners through Oamaru Elim Church pastor Greg Downing at the 14-year-old's funeral yesterday.

Zara Joy Blackie, a year 10 pupil at St Kevin's College, was farewelled by more than 600 people at the school's chapel at a service tinged with sadness and laced with humour.

Zara Blackie is carried from the St Kevin's College chapel after her funeral yesterday. PHOTO:...
Zara Blackie is carried from the St Kevin's College chapel after her funeral yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON

She died after being struck by a car in an alleged hit and run on State Highway 1 last Tuesday.

Her fellow pupils welcomed her with an emotional haka as her dark-coloured wood casket - adorned with prints of white flowers and her name, with red roses on top - was carried in by her family.

Speaking at the service, Zara's mother, Wendy Blackie, said no words could describe her loss.

"I couldn't put any words on paper to share with you, because there's too much for all of you to know ... but you know so much anyway.''

Mrs Blackie read a heartfelt tribute from Zara's sister, Sapphire (9).

"You were the person who taught me to do a million things,'' it said.

"You were the only sister I ever had. You will always be in my memories. The last words I said to you were 'Goodbye, I'll see you tomorrow'. The next morning mum told me that you had been hit by a car. I couldn't stop crying, even at school. I love you Zara, so much. That's why I can't stop crying.''

Zara's brother Hayden (16) fondly recalled the pair's hijinks around Oamaru, and her best friend Rakyla Masters (14) said Zara was a "bubbly person and always bouncing around''.

Mr Blackie's tribute said Zara's death had left "a huge emptiness in our hearts''.

His daughter was "vibrant, funny, silly at times and simply like no other'', and loved simple pleasures like chocolate and ice cream.

"My family and I will never get over this. We don't want to get over it. Our challenge is to accept her death into our lives. I know you are at peace now and I hope the angels know what they have. You are forever loved. This is not goodbye. I will see you again.''

Zara will be laid to rest in her former home town of Balclutha today.

daniel.birchfield@odt.co.nz

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