Long-serving west Auckland politician Denise Yates has died.

Yates, 77, was a member of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board and had previously been its chairwoman.

Before the Auckland Super City was created in 2010, she had served as a member of the former Waitakere City Council and chairwoman of the former Waitakere Community Board.

Yates died yesterday; she had pancreatic cancer.

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Former Labour Party leader David Cunliffe described Yates as: "Fearless, committed, true to her values and caring for all."

Our local Waitakere Ranges Local Board member and dear friend Denise Yates passed away today. She will be sadly missed...

Posted by David Cunliffe on Monday, 22 January 2018

Labour's Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood said it was "a sad day for the local body left in Auckland". As well as serving on local authorities, Yates had been a unionist, fighter for LGBT rights and environmentalist.

"Staunch, earthy, funny, wise."

Henderson-Massey Local Board chairman Shane Henderson said the West had lost one of its "fiercest, most spirited champions".


Auckland Council member Richard Hills said that among her other attributes, Yates was "a proud lesbian who faced homophobia as an elected member in the 90s".

In a tribute on Facebook, Waitakere Ranges Local Board chairman Greg Presland said Yates was full of passion and energy.

"She had a strong moral compass and a clear set of principles that she worked under. She would decide on what was right and then seek to achieve this result. Whether it was rights for the gay and lesbian community or workers' rights, she stuck to her principles and proudly championed their causes.

"She was a passionate protector of the local environment and worked hard to ensure that the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act was passed and its principles supported."

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With a great deal of sadness I wish to note that Denise Yates, a member of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board has...

Posted by Waitakere Ranges Local Board on Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Former Waitakere mayor Sir Bob Harvey said Yates was a knowledgeable and tireless worker for the community.

"She never forgot her roots in the community, of helping and assisting people who were marginalised, who didn't have a voice."

"We have lost an extraordinary, deeply committed woman. The West really is mourning her."