A Maori academic from Hawke's Bay says retired High Court judge Sir Rodney Gallen from Havelock North, who died on Saturday, was highly-regarded by members of Ngai Tuhoe.
Timoti Karetu, one of the main figures behind the push to revitalize the Maori language in the 1970s, knew Sir Rodney for almost 40 years.
He says he was with him in 1974 when Sir Rodney gathered stories from all the Maori elders who lived around the shores of Lake Waikaremoana, for a book he was writing on the history of the lake.
Mr Karetu says Sir Rodney's strong interest in the Ngai Tuhoe people is something he and others of Tuhoe descent will remember with pride and gratitude.
He says Sir Rodney did a lot for Lake Waikaremoana, had an extensive knowledge of its history and will always be remembered for his strength of character and his humility.