Ngāpuhi elder Kingi Taurua has died after a long battle with cancer.

The 80-year-old was a huge figure for the northern iwi, and for many years led Waitangi Day protests at Te Tii Marae.

Taurua had also been an advisor to government ministers, was a Vietnam War veteran and an award-winning broadcaster with Radio Waatea.

Kingi Taurua performs a hongi with then-National Party leader John Key on February 5, 2007, on the Te Tii Waitangi Marae, Waitangi. File photo / Nigel Marple
Kingi Taurua performs a hongi with then-National Party leader John Key on February 5, 2007, on the Te Tii Waitangi Marae, Waitangi. File photo / Nigel Marple

He led a small hikoi onto the Treaty Grounds' upper Te Whare Rūnanga marae this year. He said it was to send a message to the new Government to follow through on its promises.

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It is understood his body will be brought to Te Tii Marae in Waitangi tomorrow.