- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 17 June 2015, 12:26PM
The family of Jerry Collins' partner, and past and present All Blacks will be among the thousands to farewell the former All Black today.
Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett paid tribute to the star, saying there had been an out pouring of grief in the community "unlike anything we have ever seen".
Mr Leggett raised laughter at the Te Rauparaha Arena when recalling Collins' on-field exploits: The sound of Collins tackling an opponent was "like air being sucked out of a lilo."
He also recalled how Collins never missed a chance to play for his beloved Norths, sometimes only hours after turning out for the Hurricanes.
Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith described him as a fearless leader, a colourful character, and some one who inspired kids everywhere.
There is seating for 2500 people at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua, where a public service for the former All Black is just getting underway.
Thousands have attended memorials since his death 12 days ago, prompting organisers to make space for extra mourners outside the main arena.
Alana Madill's father and sister have flown to New Zealand for the ceremony.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said his side will also honour the former flanker. It's understood All Black manager Darren Shand will be among the speakers, before Collins' body is laid to rest at a private ceremony this afternoon.