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Former Wanganui mayor Chas Poynter died today after a long illness.

Mr Poynter achieved national prominence for his no-nonsense leadership of the city during the Moutoa Gardens occupation of 1995.

He was mayor of Wanganui City Council from 1986 to 1989 and Mayor of Wanganui District Council from 1989 to 2004. He was awarded freedom of the City of Wanganui in 2004.

During his time as mayor he presided over a rejuvenation of the river city's main street and a $100 million-plus stormwater and wastewater separation project.

Mayor Michael Laws said Mr Poynter was a widely liked leader who had taken an active interest in every aspect of the Wanganui community.

"Chas was much loved, by many. Both the council and myself extend our sympathies to his family and there will be a full civic representation at his funeral."

Mr Poynter was awarded the Queen's Service Order for public service in 1992. He was also an honorary kaumatua of Atihaunui O Paparangi iwi.

He was also involved with the gas, forestry and small business sectors and with a wide range of community groups, including Outward Bound.