Joshua Birss has been described as knowledgable, kind, loving, generous and respectful.
A man who died in a Northland river on Sunday has been described as someone who went through life making friends.
Joshua Dwayne Birss, 37, was found in Ruakākā River on Sunday after going missing from a party on a riverbank property in the early hours of the morning.
It is likely he fell down the 30m-high riverbank after losing his footings while “using the boys’ bathroom”, said his mother, Christine Birss.
The fact he had a bump on his head and his eyes were closed indicated he likely knocked himself out before hitting the water, she said.
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The people who owned the property were “quite distraught” as it had been a fun evening, she said.
“Half the time Josh was choosing the music and he was choosing these old rock’n’roll songs that he knew all the words to.”
Josh Birss had dinner with his parents earlier on Saturday night, and Christine Birss said she was glad she told him how much she loved him.
He was a nursery manager with “green fingers”, growing all sorts of fruit trees and plants at his Waipū home, Christine Birss said.
His workers praised him for sharing his knowledge, while school friends said he was a mediator in any disagreements, she said.
“He was hard-working, fun, honest and humble with a wicked sense of humour,” she said.
“He was really good at playing jokes on people but never in a nasty way – he always looked out for people.”
Josh Birss was also a strong swimmer who was a qualified diver and studied marine biology, she said.
He did not have any children of his own, but always got on well with kids and looked out for younger cousins, Christine Birss said.
“Josh went through life making friends and we’ve had messages from all ages – ranging from kids still at school to people in their 90s,” she said.
“It’s been helpful that so many other people have told us how he’s left such a hole in their lives as well.”
While the coroner is still investigating, Josh Birss’ funeral has been booked for 1pm on Saturday at the Waipū Celtic Barn.
Christine Birss said as he loved sunflowers and paua, people should feel free to wear bright colours to celebrate his life.
Police said the death would be referred to the coroner.
Local hapū Patuharakeke has laid a rāhui on Ruakākā River to the river mouth entrance, following the death.
There is to be no collection kai moana, netting or swimming until the rāhui is lifted on Friday.