The death of Taini Merania Morrison, renowned as a kapa haka performer and leader, is a huge loss to the art, says Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples.
Ms Morrison, 51, died on Monday after being admitted to Rotorua Hospital after complaining of chest pains at the weekend.
Dr Sharples, a former kapa haka performer himself for many years with Auckland group Manutaki, says he was devastated to learn of her death.
He says he will always remember her as a performer who reflected the spirit of Maoritanga.
Ms Morrison's body will lie in state at Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua after a post-mortem.