As Sue Fletcher-Vea arrived at her beloved Manuia Beach Resort, rays of sunshine embraced her as the symphony of the sea and waves echoed gently in the distance.
In a lot of ways, it was a metaphor for the way Fletcher-Vea treated her family, friends and colleagues.
She was a ray of sunshine who welcomed people with open arms and who cared deeply for those she loved and what she was passionate about.
Her death had left huge voids in the lives of those who knew and loved her, as hundreds of people turned out to celebrate the life of the 52-year-old who passed away suddenly on Monday.
In true Cook Islands fashion, an immense amount of aroa and support was shown for Fletcher-Vea’s husband Tom, their daughters and family.
Close friend Adrian Hopwood found it hard to find the right words to describe his dear friend.
While looking around at the many people from all sectors of the community, Hopwood said one of her particular strengths was the way she was able to move seamlessly from one place to another.
“Whether she was talking to a committee about environmental issues, or to her staff at a morning briefing, or being the president of the Tourism Council and also trying to get ahead and move forward for the betterment of the people of the Cook Islands,” he said.
Brother-in-law Richard Vinsen, from New Zealand via live video link, with Fletcher-Vea’s older sister Karyn by his side, held back tears as he shared about his beautiful and strong sister-in-law and business partner.
The Vinsen and Fletcher share a history that goes back 70 years.
“First and foremost, Sue was an awesome daughter to Jane and Paul, a better friend we could not have had. Her mind was focused on what was best for the people of the Cook Islands,” he said.
“We would love for this to be a bad dream - words cannot do justice for how much we miss you.
“Sue, you will always be in our thoughts and we promise that we will look after Tom, Ruby and Lile.”