Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says he is devastated by the sudden death of staunch personal and political supporter, Te Orohi Paul.
Ms Paul, who was in her late 50s, has died following an aneurysm.
Of Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Awa descent, Ms Paul was a founding member of the party and its vice-president. She had a background in strategy and policy, working in health and education.
Former Māori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said she fell ill while preparing to take part in an anti-violence campaign.
"She was on her way down south to ride a motorbike up one side of the South Island and then up to Auckland, where there were a number of events for the White Ribbon ambassadors, for violence against women and children in the home."
Dr Sharples said Te Orohi Paul is lying at Taheke Marae at Okere Falls near Rotorua and would be taken to Te Uiraroa Marae at Te Teko on Friday.
Te Ururoa Flavell offered this mihi to Ms Paul today:
"Tēnei te tuku atu ko ngā poroporoaki ki tāku tuahine ki a Te Orohi Paul, koia tērā kua riro ki a Hinenuitepo. Ko Te Orohi tērā, te kanohi kitea, te ringa raupā, tāku taituara, tāku tokatu moana, kua katohia e te ringa kaha o aituā. Mai i te orokohanga o te Paati Māori, koia tērā i whakapau kaha mo te paati nei, a, ko au tērā kua whiwhi i ngā painga.
"Ma te tuku o te roimata ma te rere o te hupe, ka ea te ngau o mate, o aituā. Heoi anō, me waiho ko te hunga mate, ki te hunga mate, ko ta taua, ko te whai i o rātou tapuwae, ki te whakatinana i o rātou wawata, nō reira, tēnā koutou."