Young father leaves behind wife and four children

Cody Ayers pictured with his daughter Ātaahua. The father of four died of a sudden heart attack...
Cody Ayers pictured with his daughter Ātaahua. The father of four died of a sudden heart attack early last month. Photo: Supplied
Cody Ayers was a son, brother, husband and friend who grew up in Christchurch - but what he was most proud of was being a father.

The 28-year-old died suddenly just over three weeks ago after suffering a heart attack in the early hours of Saturday, March 7.

The incident was witnessed by his wife, Maeroa Ayers, and the couple's 5-year-old son Tawhā. The three other children, aged 6 months to 3, slept through it.

Ayers' sister, Samantha Ayers, says the family is still in shock and are especially hurt for the young family he has left behind.

"He was an amazing father. He took his kids everywhere.

"Every photo I have of him is at the park or the beach or the pools with the kids.

"He had a rough time growing up - but he changed that with his own little family," she said.

Ayers grew up in Papanui, in Christchurch, but spent time in Hamilton as well, where their mother lives.

It was there he met the woman who became his wife six years ago, Maeroa. They would go on to have four children, sons Tawhā, 5, Nehemiah, 3, and 6-month-old Te whānau pani.

Cody Ayers with eldest son Tawhā, who celebrated his 5th birthday shortly before his father died...
Cody Ayers with eldest son Tawhā, who celebrated his 5th birthday shortly before his father died last month. Photo: Supplied
The couple have one daughter, one-year-old Ātaahua.

Samantha Ayers says she and her brother's families saw each other every day as they lived close to each other in Christchurch. Their father also lives in the same city.

The family say they are grateful they were lucky enough to be able to hold a funeral for their son two weeks before the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown happened.

But now that they were all in lockdown, it has been hugely difficult not being able to come together to comfort one another and to grieve as a family.

Before the lockdown, Ayers' widow and children moved to Hamilton to self-isolate with family members there so they would not be on their own.

"She's not dealing well at all," Samantha Ayers said of her sister-in-law.

"Her whole life has been my brother and she doesn't know how to do this, raise her babies, without him."

Cody Ayers with wife Maeroa Ayers on their wedding day six years ago. Photo: Supplied
Cody Ayers with wife Maeroa Ayers on their wedding day six years ago. Photo: Supplied
HE HAD SO MUCH TO GIVE, ESPECIALLY FOR HIS BABIES

Family members were doing their best to support one another from different parts of the city and country and have since set up a Givealittle page to help raise money for Ayers' young family.

Samantha Ayers said they were also still coming to terms with the fact her brother died of a heart attack.

Cody Ayers with his four children. Photo: Supplied
Cody Ayers with his four children. Photo: Supplied

There had never been any indication he may have had heart disease or any other heart condition," she said.

"I truly don't believe he should've been taken from us. He had so much to give - especially for his babies.

"I'm still in shock. I still can't believe that he's not here. I still don't think it's real."

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