The hip hop prince with a passion for people and music is on his last journey home to Wairoa Marae.

Hone Te Ihi o Te Rangi Ngata, more famously known as DJ Poroufessor, died suddenly of a suspected medical condition on Wednesday night.

The heart and soul of Code, a sports show on Māori Television for 10 years, had made a name for himself through his love for homegrown tunes while being the resident DJ.

But there was more than meets the eye with Hone, said Te Hamua Nikora (Ngāti Porou) who grew up on the same street in the East Coast, only houses apart from his cousin.

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"He would have given you the shirt off his back for anyone who needed it. Rangatahi [youth] were his passion. He would feed them and clothe them. He'd do anything for them."

When Hone was in his teens, he moved to Tauranga with his mum and it was here he fell in love with the hip hop world.

"He would come back to Gizzy with the hip shoes and the baggy pants. He sort of helped me to be cool because I had no idea," Nikora said.

Hone Ngata, more famously known as DJ Pouroufessor, died suddenly on Wednesday night. Photo / Supplied
Hone Ngata, more famously known as DJ Pouroufessor, died suddenly on Wednesday night. Photo / Supplied

But it was an opportunity to work in Chicago that shaped Hone's life. He was commissioned to help move Ruatepupuke, a whare whakairo (meeting house) from the East Coast, out of storage where it had been resting for some years.

"His experience there has marked his life ever since which is evident in the birth of his son, who was given the name of that house."

A colleague and good friend, Matai Smith, said the love Hone had for his whānau was that of no other.

"The love that exuded out of him for his wife, Donna, and his son was huge. They were his world and the second part of his world was the music."

Smith said Hone's death was a huge loss for Aotearoa and Māoridom.

"He was always about other people and helping others.

"He was the personification of the word humble because even in the world he walked in, it didn't matter if it was Che Fu or someone in the audience he would treat them with the same respect."

On behalf of his Māori Television whānau, Lilly Jordan said everyone was devastated by the news of Hone's death.

"We hope we can make him proud of the work we now do with rangatahi and Māori entertainment.

"We just hope his whānau know how much he meant to everybody here."

Hone, also a car fanatic, was driven down from Auckland on Friday with a convoy of low rider cars to rest in Wairoa Marae.

He is survived by his son Ruatepupuke Ngata and wife Donna-Jean Tairi-Ngata.