MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira says all of the Far North will be affected by the death of a local from Te Kao, Bonnie Conrad - a woman he describes as a helper of all people.
She died at Whangarei Hospital surrounded by her whanau after a short illness, at the age of 65.
Mr Harawira says Ms Conrad is known partly for running Te Kao's local store, known for its huge ice creams which featured in the travel guide Lonely Planet.
Mr Harawira says she is also known for her work at the Department of Labour.
He says he remembers when a woman came into the department and told her appointment had been moved to another day - so Bonnie gave her some of her own money.
Mr Harawira says she made herself available to anyone who needed help, 24 hours of the day.
Ms Conrad is lying in state at Potahi Marae in Te Kao and will be buried on Wednesday.