Sudden death saddens ex-council colleagues

The Rotorua District Council's former environmental services director Nigel Wharton played a significant role in shaping Rotorua's future development.

The 65-year-old died suddenly on Saturday.

It was understood Mr Wharton had battled a heart condition for several years.

Mayor Kevin Winters said both Mr Wharton and Rawiri Te Whare had left their mark on Rotorua over the years and both had close involvement with the council.

Mr Winters said he was saddened by the death of Mr Wharton.

"Nigel joined the council in 2002 and retired in 2010 after eight years' dedicated service," he said.

"During this time, as part of the council's senior management team, he played a significant part in shaping Rotorua's future development and establishing a range of successful policies and programmes that have served the council well for many years and which endure today."

Mr Winters said council staff and elected members had been saddened at the passing of a popular former colleague and friend.

"Our lowering of flags on the days of these two funerals is a small gesture from the elected members [and] management staff of the council to acknowledge the passing of two highly respected people who have each in their own way contributed much to the growth and development of this district," Mr Winters said.

"Rotorua is a richer community for their dedicated and generous contributions."

Mr Wharton's funeral will be at 11am on Thursday in the Arawa Lounge at the Rotorua Racecourse, followed by a private cremation.

He is survived by his wife Jan, his three sons and three grandchildren.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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