Bay of Plenty MPs have paid tribute to a colleague known for his big heart and even bigger personality.
Parekura Horomia, MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti on the East Coast, died on Monday at his Mangatuna home with family at his side.
The 62-year-old was well known for his work in politics but also for his larger than life stature.
Waiariki Maori MP Te Ururoa Flavell knew Mr Horomia for about 10 years in Parliament. The two men were on opposite sides of many Maori issues, such as the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, but they would often catch up afterward as friends.
Mr Flavell said there was no one like Mr Horomia in Parliament and his genuine spirit was a big loss.
"People found him to be a real gentleman, always thinking about other people, a really decent guy with really great heart." Mr Flavell and Mr Horomia travelled to Australia as part of the Maori affairs select committee earlier this year, when he first became ill.
Mr Flavell last saw Mr Horomia at a conference last week in Wellington.
"He looked pretty crook then, but he still turned up [to welcome delegates]. We told him to look after himself."
Mr Flavell described Mr Horomia as kind hearted.
"No one can doubt his best interests of people, Maori people in particular. He always did as much as he could for people.
"He was well known for covering the turf, visiting people when they were crook, birthdays, tangi. It's the loss of a real gentleman."
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges worked with Mr Horomia when they were both part of the Maori affairs select committee.
Mr Bridges said he did not know anyone who had a bad word to say about Mr Horomia.
"I really enjoyed listening to him in Parliament because he would really put his heart and soul into it," Mr Bridges said.
"He would make a lot of us laugh."
Bay of Plenty MP Tony Ryall said Mr Horomia was a very well liked and admired man who worked hard for his people.
The Labour Leader David Shearer and Labour caucus are heading to Tolaga Bay today to pay their respects at the tangi of Parekura Horomia.
The funeral service will be at 10am, Saturday, May 4 at Hauiti Marae. David Shearer, Grant Robertson and a large contingent of current and former Labour MPs will attend.