Prince Philip has been remembered for having gravitas and being a loving husband, personable, knowledgeable and engaging by residents of the Bay of Plenty who met him.
The Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, father of Prince Charles, and the patriarch of the Commonwealth royal family died aged 99, late on Friday night (NZT).
The Queen described her "deep sorrow" in announcing the death of her beloved husband.
Prince Philip's funeral service will take place at St George's Chapel, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, at 3pm on Saturday - 2am Sunday New Zealand time.
Queen Elizabeth II, his wife of 73 years, started her official eight days of mourning on Saturday (NZT).
She described Prince Philip as her "strength and stay" during her record-breaking reign.
Rotorua Lakes councillor Trevor Maxwell said he was "impressed" when he met Prince Philip on a trip to Windsor Castle in 2012 for the Queen's diamond jubilee.
A group of Te Arawa performers were invited to perform for the Royal Family as part of celebrations.
"I met the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in 2012. He walked a couple of paces behind her and we had a little chat," Maxwell said.
"It was a wonderful experience for us all. What I couldn't get over was his knowledge.
"He knew we were there with a Māori group and he knew all about the haka. We were quite impressed with him."
Maxwell said he was disappointed to hear about the death just a few months before Prince Philip turned 100.
"But he put the Queen before himself and he was a truly loyal servant. He was the wind behind her wings."
Before Todd McClay became an MP, he lived and worked in Europe, including for British politicians.
He met Prince Philip briefly, along with hundreds of others albeit while attending an event where the royal gave a speech.
"He was talking a bit around agriculture and the economy from memory. It was a speech I thoroughly enjoyed," McClay said.
"I had a huge amount of respect for the support he's given the Queen over a lifetime. The two of them together have been marvellous and great friends of New Zealand.
"A real gravitas I guess is how you'd describe him. It's hard to imagine from Rotorua what life must be like for the royals."
Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Rotorua on multiple occasions, first in 1954 during their "honeymoon tour".
Thousands lined the streets on January 2 to welcome their entourage as they travelled through to Moose Lodge, in Rotoiti, where they stayed for four nights.
Prince Philip returned to New Zealand on a flying visit during the course of his world tour, 1956–57, according to the National Library.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick spent Saturday morning remembering her close encounter with the prince as a young Hastings girl in the early 1950s.
"I was going to a luncheon for him at the Farmers Tea Rooms in Hastings and I was so nervous but I was sat next to him and he was really engaged."
The pair exchanged words on Chadwick's family, with her disclosing her mother's skill at hemming the sheets for handkerchiefs.
"I had one on me so I pulled it out and showed him and he said, 'what a clever mother'. So then he gave me his handkerchief and it was embroidered with the royal crest, but when I got home my aunt, who was terribly excited, took it and it was lost to history."
Bay of Plenty National MP Todd Muller had his thoughts with Her Majesty who had lost her soulmate of 73 years.
"The depth of that shared life together will mean that the depth of grief at his parting will be immeasurable."
Muller had spent time reflecting on the decades of service given by the Duke of Edinburgh and in turn, a major figure in "reinventing the royal family".
"I mean, from my perspective from the bottom here in New Zealand, the royal family was an institution that seemed very separate from the rest of us and I think he's gone an enormous way in making the royal family a key part of our lives."
The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award was one example of this.
Like Muller, Chadwick reflected on his awards and the benefits it gave all those who walked through the process.
"He was personable with young people, that attracted me...he was a different royal and he dared to be a little bit different but was always hugely respectful of the role."
In 1974, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip returned to Rotorua, this time on an unofficial visit, bringing with them Prince Charles.
They attended a Māori concert at the Soundshell and enjoyed a walk along the Lakefront before a small civic welcome at the Prince's Gates.
In 1977, the couple returned without Prince Charles. During this trip, they visited local artists, dog trainers and the children and staff of the Cerebral Palsy Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh returned to Rotorua separately in 1995, with the Duke arriving in the country two days ahead of the Queen.
He was taken to Mokoia Island, where the previous Duke of Edinburgh visited more than 100 years prior.
While there he assumed his role as president of the World Wide Fund for Nature and visited a breeding programme for the endangered native stitchbird.
One of those on the island with him was Rotorua kaumatua Monty Morrison who said it was wonderful to have him in a place of huge significance to Ngāti Whakaue.
"I remember him as being very engaging, very knowledgeable of who we were and the work we were doing and more particularly he was able to offer us advice on some of the work he had been doing similar to ours in other parts of the world.
"His whole demeanour, the one of service - he was treated as royalty but he came across as very engaging and ready to be engaged and he listened carefully - those are the enduring things I remember about him."
It wasn't the only time Morrison had the pleasure of providing the Duke with company. While in the United Kingdom with his wife on their overseas experience in 1975, they were invited to one of the Queen's garden parties.
"I was lucky to be part of a group that assembled to meet him at Buckingham Palace and I got the opportunity to meet him there."
Whakatāne mayor Judy Turner said the Duke was a key figure in the Commonwealth.
"He and the Queen represent a generation of practice and thinking that is very interesting... they're an interesting culture, the royal family, and it's intriguing to watch the role he has played for most of his life.
"He has clearly been a great support for her in her role."
While there were many royal visits to Rotorua, there is less documented on the Queen and the Duke visiting the coastal Bay of Plenty.
However, in 1963 the Royal Yacht Britannia sailed into Mount Maunganui with the Queen and Prince Philip on board for a brief visit while en route to Napier.
The visit marked the anniversary of Her Majesty's accession to the Throne and also the 123rd anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The passing of the prince led one Tauranga royalist to shed a tear.
Donna Lloyd met the royal couple on their tour in 1977 and said she felt terrible for the Queen.
"It was a love story and what a remarkable man and husband.
"He achieved a great deal and he meant so much to so many people... I'll admit I did shed a tear this morning."
Another royalist, Anna Solich said the news had shocked her despite his recent poor health.
"Growing up living with them and knowing that the Royal family is there, it just comes as a shock that one of them is gone. I was sad when I heard the news this morning."
Tauranga iwi leader and Māori historian Buddy Mikaere said the Duke, if anything, was a model of constancy.
Tauranga National MP Simon Bridges hoped the Prince was now resting in peace.
"This is very sad and I am sure locals, like me and my family, send their heartfelt condolences to the Queen and Royal family at this time.
"Prince Philip provided great service to the Commonwealth over many years."
New Zealand is planning to hold a memorial service for Prince Philip. Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy said it would be held after his funeral.