Tetley, whose body of work included films Vigil, Ruby & Rat' />

One of New Zealand's leading script writers, Graeme Tetley, has died, aged 69.

Tetley, whose body of work included films Vigil, Ruby & Rata, Bread and Roses and the Aramoana depiction Out of the Blue, died of natural causes in Wellington yesterday.

A script writer for over 25 years, Tetley began his film writing career as co-writer on Vigil with director Vincent Ward. It won them the 1986 NZ Film & Television Award for Best Original Screenplay in Film.

He then worked with director Gaylene Preston on the screenplay of her debut feature, Mr Wrong; and in 1990 they partnered together again on the comedy Ruby & Rata.

In 1994 they joined forces to write the script for Bread and Roses, a four part three-hour adaptation of the life of MP Sonja Davies.

During this time, Tetley was also writing for television, live theatre and working on a novel.

In 2007 he co-wrote with director Rob Sarkies, Out of the Blue, about the 1990 massacre at Aramoana. Tetley and Sarkies received the 2008 NZ Television and Film Award for Best Screenplay in Film.

New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Graeme Mason said Tetley was "not only a great voice of New Zealand stories of his own but also wonderful at helping others to find theirs. He will be greatly missed."

Tetley was raised in Havelock North in the Hawke's Bay. While studying English and History at Canterbury University, he grew increasingly interested in theatre.

He played the role of Mr Sullivan, father to the main character, in the 1976 television movie adaptation of the Ian Cross novel The God Boy.

He wrote 10 episodes of the television series Country GP and was a key player in creating Shark in the Park.

He also wrote the script for high-rating 2008 television movie Aftershock - which depicted the aftermath of a major Wellington earthquake.

At the time of his death, Tetley was collaborating on a number of film projects. His play Riverside Drive, will make its premiere next month at Wanaka's Festival of Colour.

He is survived by a son and daughter and four grandchildren.

- NZPA