Tauranga's former mayor Noel Pope, who was a strong influence in K-Valley and the Harbour Bridge, has died.

Pope was described by those who worked with him during his time in council as a visionary, driven by his love for the city of Tauranga.

He died peacefully on Thursday at the age of 87, and left behind his wife, Ena Pope, of 66 years who he met at a blind date set up by mutual friends of their parents after she had just moved to Tauranga.

He moved to Greerton with his wife and had three children and became involved with the local sports clubs; netball, rugby and swimming.


Pope spent 27 years on Tauranga City Council and was mayor for 12 of those years.

He was elected four times; twice between 1983 and 1989 and twice again between 1995 and 2001.

Someone influenced by Pope was Paula Thomson, who was the chief executive alongside Pope as mayor from the late 90s to early 2000s.

"I feel as though I've lost a father," she said of the man she said was a visionary for the city.

Thomson reminisced about the leader she saw as someone who was not afraid to make difficult decisions and did so with humility, courage and an ability to bring people together.

"Someone who saw the best in people and who was able to get the best out of people."

"He adored Tauranga," she said, and he never lost interest in the good of the city even after his time on the council.

Whether it was the intensity of the 24/7 job on the council or a trip to Japan and China with their wives, Stuart Crosby saw the many sides of Pope.


"He was a visionary ... a genuine visionary," he said.

Crosby was deputy mayor during Pope's mayoral stint from 1998 and 2001 and remembered him as "highly active, but always with a view".

"He knew what had to be done," he said.

Both the men were electricians which and would often have conversations about sport, Pope asking him about his motorsport despite his major interest being in rugby.

Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said Pope was a pivotal part of creating the Tauranga we knew today, with the purchase of land in the K-Valley and his role in the harbour bridge.

Brownless said Pope's foresight helped bring Tauranga and the Mount together as well as establish the city as a place for business.


He was also a businessman and started Pope Electrical with his wife which they ran from home for 48 years before handing the reins to their son.

A service will be held at Tauranga Park on Friday, August 23, at 2pm to celebrate Pope's life.