The presenter of The Film Show on National Radio has died.

Jonathan Dennis, aged 49, began presenting the show in 1994.

He died at his home in Wellington last night after battling cancer for several months.

Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard today paid tribute to Mr Dennis, saying his passing was a great loss to the New Zealand film sector.

"Jonathan Dennis played a significant role in the development of film appreciation in this country, and contributed in a lively and deeply felt way to New Zealanders' understanding of film.

"Jonathan was a passionate advocate for the establishment of the New Zealand Film Archive and in 1991 became its founding director. From early on at the New Zealand Film Archive, he was committed to ensuring that it reflected the concerns of Maori."

She said Mr Dennis was widely respected for his expertise and commitment.

"His work ranged from curatorial projects for film festivals both here and overseas, to producing and directing documentary films. His huge contribution to the film sector will be greatly missed."

Jonathan Dennis was also instrumental in raising the profile of New Zealand films overseas, and the international respect accorded him helped open doors for those obtaining foreign films for screening in this country.