New Zealand politicians have paid tribute to Labour Mp Parekura Horomia, who died today aged 62.
The Labour Party issued a statement from Mr Horomia's family confirming that he passed away at 4:30pm at his home at Mangatuna, Tolaga Bay.
He died "surrounded by his whanau. He will arrive at Hauiti Marae, Tolaga Bay late on Tuesday afternoon."
The details of his funeral are yet to be announced.
Labour Leader David Shearer said he and his colleagues were devastated at the loss.
They have called Mr Horomia their "matua".
"We send our love and thoughts to his whanau, especially his sons and his mokopuna, and to all the others whose lives he has touched.
"New Zealand has lost a truly great Maori leader.
"Parekura devoted his life to championing Maori aspiration and achievement. Before entering politics he was a leader in work and community employment schemes on the East Coast. He took his grassroots knowledge through to leadership within the public sector, in roles in community employment and Maori development."
Mr Shearer said as an MP and a Minister, Mr Horomia worked tirelessly to support the achievements of his people and of Maori across New Zealand.
"Under his guidance Maori well-being improved, employment increased and opportunities in education flourished. He also oversaw the establishment of Maori Television and expansion of iwi radio.
"As a politician there were few who could match Parekura's knowledge of Maori issues.
"At every marae and town in this country Parekura was welcomed as a leader and a friend. He was respected across New Zealand and across political lines.
"His wisdom, passion and humour were a guiding light for Labour, and I will miss him and his advice tremendously.
"His loyalty to Labour and to our values of inclusion, fairness and solidarity was absolute. He stood strong for the people of Ikaroa-Rawhiti and for the rights of all Maori.
"We have lost a man of immense mana, a man of conviction and of compassion. We celebrate his contribution to Aotearoa-New Zealand, and we mourn the loss of a great leader.
"The Labour whanau is heart-broken today," Mr Shearer said.
Labour Party president Moira Coatsworth, said: "Parekura, our Labour matua and Vice President, will leave a huge gap. He was loved and respected throughout New Zealand after a lifetime of service fighting hard for a better life for all. Within Labour he inspired dedication and much affection and he worked tirelessly for our movement."
National MP Tau Henare offered his farewell to Mr Horomia.
"Aroha big fulla, appreciate your friendship chief," he wrote on Twitter.
Green MP Denise Roche said a mighty totara had fallen with the death of Mr Horomia.
Act Leader John Banks said "Parekura - a good man".
United future leader Peter Dunne described Mr Horomia as a man of mana and dignity.
"A good Kiwi bloke''.
Mr Dunne sent condolences to family and friends.
National MP for Tamaki Simon O'Connor said his thoughts were with Mr Horomia's family and friends.
Prime Minister John Key said earlier today that Mr Horomia was a "highly respected member of parliament".
"He's a thoroughly nice, gentle man ...'' Mr Key said.
Former Primer Minister and leader of the Labour Party, Helen Clark, said she was deeply saddened by the news that Mr Horomia had died.
"Parekura was a greatly valued Minister in my Government - I relied on him enormously for his knowledge of Maoridom and Maoritanga.
"Parekura was infallibly a source of good advice and insights - he prioritised Maori economic, social, and cultural development, and was enormously and justifiably proud of the achievements during his time as Minister of Maori Affairs.''
Ms Clark said he was one of the kindest people she has known.
"He put himself at the service of his people and New Zealand. He worked tirelessly as a Minister and as a Member of Parliament for one of New Zealand's largest electorates.
"For me Parekura was a very good friend and colleague. He will be greatly missed by me. My heart goes out to Parekura's whanau and community at this sad time.''