Taheke Marae open their hearts to family of Louise Jull

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A small community in Rotorua opened their hearts to the family of Louise Jull today, one of New Zealand's top extreme kayakers who drowned in the Kaituna River last week.

Today locals of Taheke opened their marae for her whānau to celebrate her life.

The family of Louise Jull wanted their daughter's funeral service to be held at Taheke Marae, so her final farewell could be held near Ōkere Falls and the Kaituna River, two places Louise loved.

Hakopa Paul says, “She knew our river, Ōkere.  It was her passion, swimming, kayaking on the river.”

Over 500 people attended the service, and Liz Jull spoke of her daughter's active life.

“From an early age Louise tried everything that came her way, bagpipes, dancing, netball, swimming skilling, snowboarding but Kayaking became her passion,” says Liz Jull.

Known as one of New Zealand's top extreme kayakers, Louise Jull went missing while kayaking on the Kaituna last Wednesday.  Her body was found on Thursday morning.  Adrian and Liz Jull, the parents of Louise say that today is about celebrating her life.

Adrian Jull says, “Think of the first time you noticed Louise, was it the straighten hair, the beany, the chilled manner, maybe it was the smile, that smile I like you to hold that image. 

The beloved 26-year-old is gone from our midst, but not from our thoughts.