The "mother of Flaxmere" Pam O'Keefe has died.
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst on Sunday led the tributes to Pam who, along with her husband Hastings councillor Henare O'Keefe, became an agent for change in Hastings' most challenged suburb.
A passionate community member, a loving wife of Henare, Pam, who had been fighting illness in recent times, became an adored mum to many children, including hundreds of foster kids.
"The loss is devastating for her whanau, the Flaxmere community and the wider Hastings district," Hazlehurst said.
"She was loved by many people for her caring nature and humbleness - she never judged anyone and accepted everyone for who they were.
"She was a passionate leader in the Flaxmere community who worked tirelessly in the background at many events at Te Aranga Marae, cooking food on Tunutunu for the community at council events and supporting so many young people at the Flaxmere Boxing Academy.
"She was very proud to stand alongside Henare as a true leader and she never expected any accolades or awards.
"Because of that, we are thankful we had the opportunity to award Pam a Hastings District Civic Honour a few years ago for her dedication to the community. "
In 2017 Pam was also presented with the Kiwibank Local Heroes Award for her work with families as an administrator Te Aranga Marae, a member of the Kai Collective Food Bank and a vital part of the Flaxmere Boxing Academy.
Considered by many Flaxmere residents as the "Mother of Flaxmere", Pam's incredibly caring and empathetic nature enabled her to foster more than 200 children over 30 years and help reintegrate prison inmates back into the community.
"Her death will leave an enormous hole to everyone, young and old," Hazlehurst said.
Long-time friend and former colleague of Henare, Lawrence Yule, said Pam was a "tower of strength" for Henare and would quietly work in the background.
"She would be up all night cooking for people and was a fundamental part in fostering all those children.
"That couple was a very special couple and their love for each other and other people is immense.
"I probably haven't come across a couple in my life who have given so much to so many," he said.