She was the ultimate matriarch. A doer, a stubborn political stalwart and a member of just about every community organisation you can think of.
She was Rosemary Michie.
The Rotorua icon died yesterday aged 87 following a short battle with cancer.
Michie's contribution to Rotorua and the wider region makes comprehensive reading.
She spent 12 years as a Rotorua district councillor, served nine years in two stints as a Bay of Plenty regional councillor, twice stood unsuccessfully for Labour in parliamentary elections, chaired the Mt Ngongotahā Restoration Trust and was involved in so many committees and organisations it was only fitting an MBE was awarded in 1995 to recognise her service.
She is described by her family as stubborn, loving and the glue that held them together. She was so stubborn in fact, she survived contracting the paralysing Guillain Barre syndrome in 2003.
She spent nine days unable to move and six weeks in Waikato Hospital before making a shock recovery that saw her describe herself in latter years in a Rotorua Daily Post article as a "walking miracle".
She was equally chuffed about bouncing back from hip and knee replacements - further adding to her "wāhine toa" status.
British-born, she trained as a nurse before marrying Alan Michie. They emigrated to Canada before moving to Rotorua in 1972, when they took up running a motor camp at Okawa Bay on Lake Rotoiti's shores, the site where the VR Rotorua Lake Resort now stands.
It was there Michie's community involvement began.
She once told the Rotorua Daily Post: "The day I saw Lake Rotorua's awful state I knew I had to do something to help."
She served on the district council from 1980 to 1992. She did two stints as a regional councillor from 1989 to 1992 and 1995 to 2004.
She also tried her hand at national politics, standing for Labour in the Rotorua electorate in 1987 and six years later the then Tarawera electorate.
Her hot topics to tackle were women's rights and the environment, including being instrumental in establishing Rotorua's recycling centre.
Her daughter, Jenny Michie, said her mother was diagnosed not long after lockdown began and they would hold a private cremation before holding a public celebration of her life once the alert level restrictions lifted.
"She was the ultimate matriarch and was the glue that kept us all together, especially after Dad died 21 years ago."
She said she would miss visiting her mother at her Mourea home, where she lived for the past 40 years.
"My life will be lonelier, she phoned every other day and we were very close ... We just loved her and we loved to tease her."
She was very family-orientated despite being at meetings a lot of the time.
"She was very earnest in a loving way and would show her love through worry."
Despite tackling many causes, she always did it in a polite way.
"She was always friendly with her opponents. She didn't do partisan, was without prejudice and was very kind."
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said Michie was considered the "great Dame of the Labour Party".
"She was like a matriarch to the Labour Party movement."
Chadwick said she led the selection of local candidates and worked "hand in glove" with the late Johnny Lepper.
Michie was very proud of Chadwick when she won the Rotorua seat for Labour - a first for the party in 39 years.
"She was always very credible and well-researched. On the electorate committee you feared her views and she would take you on."
Chadwick said she found herself on opposing sides to Michie - a lover of the Rotorua library and former librarian - when she went head-to-head with the council in 2016 to try to stop the library health hub development.
She said it was proof Michie was about the politics, not the people.
"I said to her at the time, 'Rosemary, what are you doing? Do you really think I'll ruin the library?' but it showed me that we had to communicate better and it was a nudge from her. It was hard to be on the wrong side of her but I respected her.
"Rosemary was a lovely person and very elegant in every way. She always put things very nicely – but very determinedly."
Michie is survived by three sons and a daughter along with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
* Rotorua district councillor 1980-1992 chairing parks and community committee, recycling committee
* Regional councillor 1989-1992 and 1995-2004, chaired Operations and Rural Services Committee, one term as council's deputy chairman.
* Member of Whangamarino Primary and Mokoia Intermediate school committees
* Active in Rotoiti Ratepayers' Association, former member Festival Art committee, Life Education Trust, Rotorua Civic Arts Trust, District Community Arts Council, Trust Bank BOP Community Trust, Trust Bank BOP board of directors, chaired QE Hospital Community Trust, member Rotorua Social Services Council, chaired Lakeland Disabilities Support Trust and Mt Ngongotaha Bush Restoration Trust, former president Probus Ngongotahā
* Awarded an MBE in 1995 and Rotorua Community Services Award in 1994
* Instigated and presented a petition to the Rotorua Lakes Council in 2016 gaining nearly 1400 signatures against the children's health hub at the library, Rotorua Library in Te Aka Mauri. It was unsuccessful.