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One word adequately summed up 91-year-old Harry Lapwood - busy.

The former Rotorua MP and Tourism Minister, who has died after a short illness, never liked to be idle. His family have three A4 pages listing all the sports clubs, hobby clubs, service groups, business groups, churches and government organisations he was involved in.

"He was a busy man. He was always busy but always had time for his family," said son-in-law Trevor Newbrook.

A World War II veteran, Mr Lapwood was born in Auckland and moved to Rotorua in 1947 with his wife, Cath, who died four years ago.

Before becoming involved in politics he was a policeman and a retailer.

In the mid-1950s he chaired the Rotorua Borough Council works committee. The National Party approached him to stand for Parliament in 1960 and he was elected MP for Rotorua, serving for 18 years before retiring.

He was Minister of Tourism and the Minister in Charge of Publicity and the Government Printing Office in the Muldoon Government from 1975 to 1978.

He was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal and made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1992.

Mr Newbrook said his father-in-law loved Rotorua. "He pretty well spent his whole life serving the community. He was fully committed to this town."

One of his favourite jobs was Tourism Minister, with his hometown being New Zealand's tourism capital. After his time in politics, he chaired the Keep Rotorua Beautiful Committee for a number of years.

Mr Lapwood was a keen golfer, playing for the best part of 60 years and only giving up in his early 80s.

He is survived by five daughters, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His funeral will be at St John's Presbyterian Church in Rotorua at 1pm today.