The Maori Land Court is in mourning after the death of Judge David Ambler in Whangārei on Saturday night.
Judge Ambler had served on the court since 2006 and was also a presiding officer of the Waitangi Tribunal.
He was also appointed presiding officer of the Te Rohe Pōtae Inquiry in 2006.
Chief Māori Land Court Judge Isaac Wilson - who is also chairman of the Waitangi Tribunal - said Judge Ambler was a respected colleague of everyone he worked with in the court and the tribunal.
"Fluent in te reo Māori, Judge Ambler brought to his work his knowledge, commitment and passion for the law, tikanga Māori and Iwi Māori.
"While we grieve for our brother judge, Judge Ambler's death is an intensely personal loss for his whānau and close friends."
Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta said Judge Ambler was a softly spoken, intelligent man held in high regard by Māori and Pākehā alike.
"Judge David Ambler was a well-respected New Zealander. Presiding over matters to do with Māori and their land is a very complex area. Judge Ambler rose to the challenge with dignity, clarity and respect." she said.
"Not only did he have a remarkable legal mind with a strong sense of social justice, he was simply a nice man. He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered."
Judge Ambler will be taken to Moko Marae at Waitangi near Te Puke where he will lie before his burial on Wednesday.