Happy, healthy, bright, brave and generous. These are just some of the words used to describe the lively young woman from Wynyard whose life was cut short last week after setting out in a small boat with her friends.
She'd just met the love of her life, had moved to a peaceful Coastal town and had dreams of buying an acreage with her mother to start a dog shelter.
Bree-Anna Thomas, 31, had not lived in Wynyard very long before she died, but it seems she will not be forgotten by the community she had grown to love, and certainly not by those she called family.
"No regrets. That was our motto," Michelle Thomas, Bree's mother and best friend, said on Wednesday.
"As long as we weren't hurting anyone we didn't live by anybody else's rules."
For Ms Thomas, the knowledge that her daughter had lived life exactly the way she'd wanted to, and had been out on a "beautiful" day trip with friends has been a tremendous comfort in the week since her body was discovered.
"She was spontaneous and fun-loving, she would not have regretted a single minute of that day," she said.
Ms Thomas found it difficult to describe the intense love she had for her only child. The two had moved to Wynyard just this year, with dreams of buying a beautiful property.
"I loved everything about her. She was incredibly intelligent, brave and generous," she said.
"Everything she was was everything I wish I was at that age. She taught me how to be brave and confident and believe in myself. She taught me more than any teacher ever did.
"I will see her again one day."
Ms Thomas said Bree-Anna had met her boyfriend, Tom Farrell, about four months ago.
"She used to refer to Tom as her future husband," she said.
"She said, 'oh my god, he's kinder and more caring and more thoughtful than all of the boys I've ever dated put together. He's the one mum'."
Mr Farrell said he had felt drawn to Bree-Anna's "magnetic" personality, despite clashing with her when they first met.
"We butted heads pretty hard when we first met," he said, chuckling.
Ms Thomas and Mr Farrell said the community had been amazing with their support, even restoring Ms Thomas' faith in humanity.
"I've never seen anything like it," Ms Thomas said.
"Everybody has made me feel like family, even though the majority of them didn't know me from a bar of soap. I've only been here seven weeks."
She said there was "no way" she would leave Wynyard, and that she hoped to continue with Bree's dream of opening a dog shelter.