Staff at Rotorua Lakes Council are today remembering the man who drove development of the council's collection of event venues over the last decade and was at the forefront of many of the city's successful events.

Peter McLeod, the council's Events & Venues general manager since March 2005, passed away at his home last night.

Mr McLeod joined the council from Taranaki where he had been involved in a similar role for New Plymouth District Council, a major responsibility having been development and operation of Taranaki's Yarrow Stadium.

He had previously served as the founding chairman of the Warriors rugby league team.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick paid tribute to Mr McLeod, describing his passing as "a huge loss to the creative and sports communities".

"Peter's name was synonymous with the Energy Events Centre and Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre.

"His passion, his expertise, and his skills back-of-house were masterly. He was always the 'go-to guy' and everybody knew him. Only yesterday I met with him where he updated me on yet another exciting major sporting event he was working on for Rotorua."

Rotorua Lakes Council chief executive, Geoff Williams, said Mr McLeod was a highly respected operator with a well-deserved national reputation for expertise in the sports, entertainment, conventions and event venues sectors.

"He's certainly been the driving force behind the successful development of our venues, and he's helped establish Rotorua's reputation as one of the country's top destinations for conferences, meetings, and sports and entertainment events.

"Behind his quiet and relaxed style was a popular man with a huge knowledge of the various sectors he worked in, and exceptional skills that he'd built up over many years working with major events and in venue operations.

"Rotorua has benefitted substantially from Peter's outstanding contribution over the last 10 years, and we're grateful for the important role he's played in our development.

"He will leave very big shoes to fill, and will be missed by many - here in Rotorua, around the country and even overseas," Mr Williams said.

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