Chris Parker’s family and friends will remember a man who always had a smile on his face and had a passion for motorbikes.
The father of three, who lived in Mangapai, near Whangarei, drowned at Pakiri Beach last Saturday.
The 49-year-old had gone to Matakana for the weekend to help a friend with a building job. He was swimming at the beach with his daughters when tragedy struck.
He was laid to rest in Waimate North yesterday, after being transported from his Mangapai home flanked by more than 100 motorcycle riders, including his wife Finn.
Mr Parker lived in Mangapai with Finn and their two daughters aged 7 and 5. He had an adult son from a previous relationship.
Neil Tobin said Mr Parker was his “oldest mate”. The pair met at Kaikohe Intermediate, both attended Northland College and had been friends ever since.
“A real good genuine guy who was always fun to be with and always had your back,” Mr Tobin said of his mate.
He said his friend was a real “farm boy” who loved dirt bikes and possum shooting as they were growing up.
Mr Parker went to Wellington for a building apprenticeship and would return to Northland during his time off.
“One time he forgot his shorts, so he just got a knife and cut his jeans off.”
The friends had a joint 21st party, as Mr Parker’s birthday was the day after Mr Tobin’s.
Mr Tobin said his mate was loyal and never changed, and he would miss having him around.
Mr Parker also spent some time in the UK, where he met his wife. The couple had been married for 14 years.
Mr Parker worked for BP delivering fuel to farmers across Northland.
His love of motorbikes carried on through his life as he progressed to owning a 91 Harley Davidson softail Evo.
He had recently had a new paint job on his bike, which he had helped design and was very proud of.
He was a member of the Dirty Deeds Motorcycle Club, and enjoyed going for long rides on his bike.
Another family friend said he was “always smiling, and happy for a joke”.
She said Mrs Parker had given up riding about eight years ago when she was pregnant, but rode Mr Parker’s bike yesterday as a tribute.