Auckland Council has paid tribute this morning to the passing of councillor Dick Quax, remembering the Howick councillor as a fine athlete and someone who took food at night to the homeless.

A minute's silence was observed at the start of a meeting to make decisions on the council's 10-year budget.

Mayor Phil Goff remembered Quax as a friend and a New Zealander who performed outstanding public service as a Manukau City councillor and, in recent years, an Auckland councillor.

"But also for those of us who remember the 1970s as a sporting icon for New Zealand and one of our country's finest athletes," he said.

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Quax's fellow Howick councillor, Sharon Stewart, described her colleague as a tireless worker for his community and someone who had very strong views, supported keeping rates down and spending money wisely.

She said some nights he would take food out to homeless people.

"He really did care for the people," Stewart sad.

Despite taking a couple of months leave in his fight against cancer, she said, Quax kept working in his community and worked to repair damage from April's storm on the Rotary walkway along the Pakuranga coastline.

Stewart said part of the walkway should be named after him.

Manurewa-Papakura councillor Daniel Newman said Quax was a man who never held a grudge and simply ran his race the best he could.

"We mourn the loss of a colleague, but I mourn the loss of a good friend," Newman said.

Left-leaning councillor Mike Lee said in many respects Quax was a political opposite, but he was an honourable man inside and outside the council chamber.

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"He was a wonderful personality and I remember with admiration his points of order. He added value to this council and will be missed."