The renowned Cook Islands scholar, Professor Ron Crocombe, has died in Auckland at the age of 79.
Born in New Zealand, Professor Crocombe has lived and worked in the Pacific islands for half a century.
He served as director of the Australian National University's New Guinea Research Unit in the 1960s and most notably as Professor of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific for 20 years beginning in the 1970s.
Mr Crocombe had recently visited China and was returning from Tonga after being inducted as one of the six fellows of the 'Atenisi University.
Professor Crocombe is survived by his wife and four children.