Mark Wedekind, 59, died in a three-vehicle crash on the Coastal Highway on March 22.
Family and friends of a musician who died in a car crash say he was a caring man who “lived and breathed music”.
Mark Richard Wedekind died in a three-vehicle collision on the Coastal Highway on March 22, near the intersection of Gardner Valley Road.
His older brothers Shaun and John remember Wedekind as a caring man and talented musician, who had a soft spot for underdogs.
Born in 1963, Wedekind fell in love with music when he turned 13, the age when he purchased his first guitar.
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Wedekind worshipped Elvis, his older brother Shaun said, and loved the Beatles.
Everything that Elvis ate, the family had to eat too, including fried bananas and blueberries – a relatively unknown fruit at that time.
“He lived and breathed music.”
Wedekind joined a band when he was 17, and lived in the Bay of Islands as a musician for a while.
He later moved to Mt Maunganui, then Auckland, and then Sydney with his band, Mistaken Identity.
After living in Sydney for eight years, Wedekind returned home to the Bay of Islands, where he became the resident musician at the Copthorne Hotel.
“He played there nearly every night of the week.”
In his spare time, Wedekind would run a jam session in the Kelly Tarlton’s sunken treasure and shipwreck museum.
He was always kind to inexperienced players, and would encourage them to have a go.
More recently living in Motueka, Wedekind was a caring man, Shaun said. While working in retirement homes, he would often play piano for the residents without charge.
“He was very creative, cheerful, and loved to laugh.
“He was all about music.”
Wedekind met his current girlfriend, Jhoy Yanoc Ejercito, in August last year.
Ejercito, who lives in Singapore, said Wedekind was a “good guy”.
They met through an online Christian dating platform. They would talk for two hours a day, before Ejercito went to sleep, and they enjoyed singing together.
Ejercito had planned to come to New Zealand for a visit when the borders opened.
It was when she didn’t receive her usual messages that Ejercito became worried, she said.
She was contacted by Shaun while she was having breakfast, who told her what had happened.
“I can’t believe he’s gone.”
Motueka Anglican Parish reverend Russell Pickersgill-Brown said Wedekind was a “great guy”, who had “found his hope in Christ”.
“He was a man who found the Lord, and was very comfortable with his life and his journey.”