Former Rotorua parks manager and lover of the arts Don Butcher has died after a short illness at Paraparaumu.
Donald George Butcher died after a short battle with cancer surrounded by friends and family at the Mary Potter Hospice. He was 72 years old.
Mr Butcher has been described as a true gentleman and was one of the driving forces behind Rotorua city's beautiful gardens and the building of RAVE _ the Rotorua Arts Village on Hinemaru St _ which has become a haven for the city's artists.
Mr Butcher was born in England and moved to New Zealand to take up a role at the Rotorua District Council as parks and recreation manager.
During his more than 40 years in Rotorua Mr Butcher was chairman of Creative Communities Rotorua, president of the Rotorua Community Arts Council, was on the board of the Rotorua Musical Theatre and the Rotorua Tree Trust.
Rotorua district councillor Glenys Searancke said Mr Butcher was a quiet achiever who meant what he said.
"He gave a lot to the Rotorua community and had a real passion for all the arts.
"With Don you always knew where you stood and he got the job done.''
Mrs Searancke said he was a real gentleman and would be sorely missed.
"He would come back to Rotorua quite a lot, about three or four times a year to support the musical theatre or another local production,'' she said.
Former Rotorua mayor Grahame Hall said Mr Butcher was a great guy.
"He was very good at getting new initiatives off the ground and a great supporter of Art in the Park. Don was very well respected in parks and reserves and was a very hard working man.''
Mr Hall said Rotorua was blessed to have such a man working for the council who made sure there were plenty of
parks and reserves for people to enjoy.
Mr Butcher is survived by his wife Anne and his step-children Sandra, Darrell, Chris and Leeanne. He was also grand father of Jie and Shae. His funeral was held on Thursday at Kapiti Coast Funeral Home, followed by a private cremation.