Dave Saunders, former editor and long-serving staff member of the Wairarapa Times-Age, died on Monday.
Mr Saunders, 51, passed away suddenly at home from heart difficulties.
Mr Saunders edited the Times-Age for more than seven years from December 2003 until 2011 - having in earlier years also worked at the paper as a reporter, subeditor and chief sub-editor.
Times-Age general manager Andrew Denholm said Mr Saunders had been "very much a mentor" to him when he began at the newspaper, with his extensive knowledge of the commercial aspects of the industry.
Mr Denholm recalled Mr Saunders' sense of humour and consistent victories at the Friday night staff trivia quiz.
Last year Mr Saunders underwent cardiac surgery, which led to him stepping down as editor of the newspaper in November.
He went on to take up a new role with APN as a remote sub-editor for community newspapers, and contributed a weekly column to the Times-Age.
Mr Saunders began his journalism career in his hometown of Wanganui at the Herald and Chronicle in 1979, where he served as reporter and sub-editor. He started at the Times-Age in 1980, where he worked as a reporter and covered events such as the 1981 Springbok rugby tour. Mr Saunders' predecessor, Andrew Wyatt, first saw him as a "promising young guy" in the sub-editing department.
Mr Saunders left the newspaper for a sub-editing role in Gisborne, only to be re-employed by Mr Wyatt as chief sub-editor at the Times-Age, before leaving again to further his career. He edited the Horowhenua News, the Kapiti News, and for five years from the late 1990s, was managing editor of the Levin Chronicle.
Times-Age front office manager Liz McCracken, who also began at the newspaper in 1980, said she had "the highest respect for his ability, knowledge and experience."
Rick Neville, APN chief operating officer, recalled Mr Saunders' "considerable talents and experience". Mr Saunders had worked hard for the company in his many roles and was a mentor to many younger staff.