Peter McLeod, one of the people instrumental in getting the Warriors into the Australian NRL and the long-time head of Events & Venues Rotorua, has died.
Rotorua Lakes Council staff were yesterday remembering the man who drove development of the council's event venues for the last decade and was at the forefront of many of the city's successful events.
Mr McLeod, Events & Venues general manager since March 2005, died at home on Wednesday night. He was 62.
Mr McLeod joined the council from a similar role at New Plymouth District Council.
He had previously served as the founding chairman of the Warriors rugby league club.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick described his death 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. I met with him on Wednesday where he updated me on yet another exciting major sporting event he was working on for Rotorua."
Mrs Chadwick said her thoughts, and those of councillors and staff, were with Mr McLeod's partner and family.
Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle told the Rotorua Daily Post staff at the Warriors were devastated at Mr McLeod's passing.
"He was instrumental in the Warriors getting into the ARL as it was known back them. It's a massive loss for the club," said Mr Doyle.
"He was definitely old school, he had a huge amount of integrity and when you talked to him he was always very genuine and he really loved the game."
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.
"He will leave very big shoes to fill, and will be missed by many."