If the courtroom was a stage, Jonathan Temm QC was the star of the show.
The great legal mind never liked to back down in an argument, but he lost one of his few battles on Wednesday when he died from a brain tumour surrounded by his family.
The 58-year-old has left a legacy among the legal fraternity who are mourning the loss of one of the country's greatest lawyers.
Temm QC was more than just a brilliant performer in the courtroom. His true talent lay in his ability to simply listen, give his time and make people feel like they have been heard.
Temm QC was appointed a Queen's Counsel in June last year - a title he had strived for and one he accepted with pride following the footsteps of his late father, Justice Paul Temm, who was a senior QC before being appointed a judge.
But the appointment came six months after his brain tumour diagnosis and by then his illness had taken hold and he was unable to return to the courtroom to practise under his title.
His appointment ceremony at the Rotorua Courthouse was attended by judges of the Supreme Court, High Court and District Court. At the ceremony, Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann said the rank of Queen's Counsel was reserved for the strong, learned and the brave.
She said Temm's clients were never in any doubt they had the very best advocate and he backed up his passion with knowledge, being undoubtedly learned in the law.
Chief Justice Winkelmann said he was famous for his diligence, whether he was charging a client or doing pro bono work and was staunchly committed to access to justice.
Throughout his career he was involved in many serious criminal litigation cases, including the high-profile Nia Glassie murder trial and the trial of Quinton Winders for the murder of "stop go" sign road worker George Taiaroa.
Temm graduated from Auckland University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in political studies and began his legal career at Chapman Tripp Sheffield Young in Auckland in 1993.
He joined Davys Burton in Rotorua in 1995 and later became a partner and senior Crown counsel prosecuting for 10 years.
In 2005, he opened his own practice with a specialty in criminal law and civil litigation.
Temm dedicated much of his life to volunteering in leadership roles for the New Zealand Law Society, as Waikato/Bay of Plenty District Law Society president and later New Zealand Law Society president in 2010.
After his presidency, Temm continued to volunteer participating in court reforms, including as chairman of the advisory committee on Alternative Trial Processes for Sexual Offending, board member of South Pacific Lawyers Association and chaired the law society's Continuing Professional Development Committee, a member of the New Zealand Bar Association and was a trustee of the New Zealand Law Foundation.
He served several years on the New Zealand Council of Law Reporting and as the director of the Litigation Skills Faculty, served on the executive board of the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce for eight years and served two terms on the John Paul College Board of Trustees.
He also led a charge to fight to save Rotorua's rescue helicopter, having known its worth when his son was in a serious crash.
His wife of 15 years, Lynnelle Temm, said Temm made her feel respected, cherished and loved.
"He always made me feel like the most important person. For me he was my absolute ... He was always so gentle and loving and a beautiful person to spend time with."
Temm said her husband was undoubtedly cheeky, charming and could work a room but he was always courteous, polite and didn't like bullying.
He had worked so hard to become a QC, she said she would always be aggrieved it didn't happen earlier.
Barbara Neale, who worked for Temm for 25 years, said he made a difference.
"He was a great friend to many of us, a great man and a voice for the weak and the weary."
She said he stood strong in his belief that the justice system was for all and that everyone was entitled to a fair trial.
"He lent his voice to those who were too afraid or lost to speak for themselves."
She said he was an advocate for human rights and he fought for what was right when oftentimes people would have fallen through the gaps without his help.
Rotorua District Court Judge Phillip Cooper said Temm was a leader of the Bar in Rotorua and was highly respected by the judiciary and his professional colleagues.
"His call to the inner Bar as a Queen's Counsel last year was a fitting tribute to his legal acumen and advocacy skills. He loved the law and he loved justice. The Rotorua judiciary is greatly saddened by his passing."
Crown Solicitor Amanda Gordon said Temm's death was a great loss to the Rotorua legal community.
"He was a lawyer who argued passionately for those he represented. I have been fortunate to work with Jonathan both when he was a Crown prosecutor, and appearing opposite him when he went to the Bar."
Gordon said representing either "side", he was always fearless and courageous in his advocacy and never backed down, even when he was wrong.
"Yet he was always professional. Jonathan believed in what he did and the essential community service that criminal lawyers provide. He was always generous with his time, both for clients and fellow practitioners and enjoyed providing support and guidance to other lawyers."
A moment's silence was held for Temm before Thursday's Rotorua Lakes Council's operations and monitoring committee meeting.
Mayor Steve Chadwick said Temm had made a "huge contribution" to education and the justice system.
"A very sad day for the loss of a New Zealand leader."
Law Society president Tiana Epati said Temm was incredibly generous with his time and always willing to help.
"We have lost a leader, a great advocate and a good kind man."
He is survived by his wife Lynnelle and children Daniel, Paige, Matthew, Grace and Olivia.
Funeral details are to be advised and family have asked in lieu of flowers, that a donation be made to Rotorua Hospice.
From the press bench
By Jill Nicholas
Journalists don't always have an easy relationship with defence lawyers. Jonathan Temm QC was an exception.
During my many years covering trials in which he was involved he was unfailingly courteous and as helpful as his role allowed.
I'll never forget the one with so many defendants they spilled out of the dock, lining up against the wall separating the public from the well of the court. To reach the press bench I had to squeeze past them.
Temm's client took great pleasure in repeatedly attempting to trip me up. Then came the day he hissed verbal abuse at me.
I told JT (as I called him) if his man didn't pull his head, and his feet, in I'd be his next client accused of who knew what retaliation.
A few stern words from his learned counsel sorted the miscreant out. Next time I passed him there was a shamefaced "sorry Miss".
I subsequently heard from another source Temm had threatened to withdraw from representing his client if there was a repeat performance.
When I asked him if it was true he resorted to that good old standby "I neither confirm nor deny".
That was Temm, media friendly yet professional to the core.