The man considered the father of New Zealand's youth justice system, Mick Brown, has died in Auckland Hospital, aged 77.
He was made a District Court Judge in 1980 at Henderson, West Auckland, where he began experimenting with community-based justice.
In 1989, after the passing of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act, Judge Brown was appointed the first Principal Youth Court Judge.
He was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1996 for services to the Youth Court, education and his contribution to the community.
In 2006 he received a Mayor's Living Legend Award from the Auckland City Council.
Colleagues of Judge Mick Brown said he was a pioneer in the justice system, who influenced courts around the world.
The current principal Youth Court judge, Andrew Becroft, said he was hugely influential and had left an 'enormous legacy'.
He said Judge Brown opened up better pathways of justice for both Maori and non-Maori youth.