Ngati Porou iwi chief executive Monty Soutar says the death of one of the tribe's elder statesmen is a big loss.
Sir Henare Ngata, who died on 11 December, was born at Waiomatatini, north of Ruatoria, in 1917.
He was the youngest son of New Zealand's first double degree holder and Maori leader, Sir Apirana Ngata.
He served in with the 28th Maori Battalion during the World War II, and was captured by the Germans on Crete.
After the war he studied at Victoria University where he graduated in both Arts and Commerce.
He spent much of his life in Gisborne as an accountant, chaired the Mangatu Incorporation for 28 years, and was knighted in 1982.
Dr Soutar says Sir Henare made a huge contribution to public life, and will be remembered for amongst other things his intellect and leadership for Maori from Gisborne to East Cape over many years.