One of Maoridom's senior statesmen, Timoti (Timi) te Heuheu, has died in Rotorua on Thursday. He was 68.
The Ngati Tuwharetoa leader is the young brother of paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu and husband of former Cabinet Minister Georgina te Heuheu.
Timoti te Heuheu was a lively figure who worked tirelessly as a tribal diplomat and link between iwi Maori politics and business.
He was also the Te Arawa representative on the Whanau Ora Regional Leadership Group - providing high quality advice to the Whanau Ora Governance Group.
Mr te Heuheu's death was announced on Thursday at the Waitangi Tribunal's inquiry into water ownership.
A member of the tribunal Pou Temara says the death of Timoti te Heuheu is a great loss for Maoridom.
He paid tribute to Mr te Heuheu saying he is now in the warm and protective embrace of his ancestors, and extended his condolences Mr te Heuheu's bereaved whanau.
The Waikato Regional Council has also paid tribute to Mr te Heuheu.
Council chairman Peter Buckley says with Mr Te Heuheu's help, which goes back to the 1990s, the council was able to build a sound relationship with the Ngati Tuwharetoa Trust Board.
He says of particular note was his role on a joint working group, which has the aim of a 20% reduction in the level of nitrogen leaching into Lake Taupo by 2020.
Mr Buckley says Timi Te Heuheu's passing will be felt not only by councillors, but staff who worked with him closely over many years.
Timi te Heuheu has been taken to Waihi Pa on the southern shores of Lake Taupo where he will lie in state in the wharenui, Tapeka.
Iwi from throughout New Zealand are expected to travel to Waihi to pay their respects.
Timoti and Georgina te Heuheu have two sons.