Hastings coroner Chris Devenport has died in Hawke's Bay Hospital after an accident at his home.
Devenport, 64, died on Wednesday, a coronial media spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday morning.
Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall paid tribute to the contribution and service of Devonport.
He was one of the first full time coroners, appointed when the Coroners Act 2006 came into force and had a passion for demistifying the coronial process.
Prior to that role, Coroner Devonport worked in private legal practice on the East Coast of the North Island for 30 years.
He was well connected in his community, having served on the committees of various service and sporting clubs, philanthropic trusts and school boards.
"Coroner Devonport will be remembered by his colleagues as a quiet and hardworking coroner who was dedicated to his family," said Judge Marshall.
"He was always willing to take on extra work if asked and as one of the first full-time coroners appointed in 2007, contributed greatly to the way in which the coronial service has developed.
"I extend my sympathies to Coroner Devonport's family, friends and colleagues. He will be greatly missed."
Ministry of Justice Acting Chief Executive Carl Crafar said Devonport helped shape the role of the modern New Zealand coroner.
"He was widely respected and his death is a great loss to New Zealand's coronial services. On behalf of the Ministry, I want to extend my sincere condolences to Coroner Devonport's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time."
Devonport grew up in Christchurch, earned his law degree at Canterbury University, and then moved to Gisborne.
His funeral plans were still being established, the spokeswoman said.
He is survived by his wife Chrissie and two adult children.