Willie Emery, a stalwart for Rotorua's lakes, land and people, has died, and is said to have left a lasting legacy behind.
On Sunday, William Emery, known to most as Willie, died peacefully in Tauranga Hospital on Sunday at age 75.
He was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a friend, a teammate, a leader.
Loved ones have described him as a man with knowledge, a big heart, and enthusiasm.
The man with a love of the land, the lakes, the rugby, and the people will be arriving in the arms of the woman he loved the most, who he lost more than a decade ago.
His moko remember him as a big dreamer, hard worker, and a pillar of support.
And now, after his passing, they are coming to realise how many lives he touched, they said in a collective statement.
"This past week has been incredibly eye-opening with the masses of people who have come to farewell our Koro."
It has been just under 11 years since the whanāu lost Winnie, Willie's wife.
"Although he has left us, he will be arriving into the arms of the woman he loves most," his moko said.
"This chapter in our lives has ended, we are grateful to say that we were more than loved by both our grandparents."
Loved ones farewelled Willie at his tangi yesterday at Taurua Marae.
Willie's son, Wiremu Emery, remembers his dad's big heart, strong opinions, wisdom, love of the Rotoiti Rugby Club, and dedication to everything he did.
Wiremu said his father's achievements and his helping hand to others was a strong legacy.
Without him, he said, the family would no longer have his knowledge and input - they would no longer get the advice they were used to getting.
"We valued his input ... he always had a lot to say."
However, Wiremu said they were now able to approach situations by taking a step back, "and think about what he would say".
While he had a lot to say, he spoke with open eyes and an open heart, his son remembered.
This was woven into all areas of his father's life, he said, with several land trusts, and communities.
Wiremu said his dad's experience and understanding of the land and the lakes meant his opinion was held in high regard.
He remembered Willie's love of club rugby, particularly the Rotoiti Rugby Club for which he first played in 1959, and remembered growing up watching the continual hard work behind the scenes.
And now, the memories have "come full circle" as he walked in his father's footsteps, now chair of the same club his father once was and starting to get more involved in the community.
"Trying to do the best for us as a community, that sums him up," he said.
And he was glad his father was able to see the man he was becoming.
"I spoke to him last week and he thanked me for the hard work I'm doing for the Rotoiti club and how proud he was of me ... I got a bit teary-eyed and thanked him.
"He's going to be sorely missed by a lot of people."
Willie served on the Te Arawa Land Trust since 1983, and to the Te Arawa Māori Trust Board two years later through to 2007.
During his time on the Te Arawa Māori Trust Board, Willie helped navigate the lakes settlement with the Crown.
He was then appointed to the current Te Arawa Lakes Trust in 2007.
He was a past chairman of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao, Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa and Te Kotahitanga o Te Arawa Fisheries and served on many other Ngāti Pikiao land trusts and incorporations.
In a post on social media, Te Arawa Lakes Trust said it was "with the heaviest of hearts" to hear of Willie's passing.
"Willie Emery was renowned for his knowledge of traditional Tau Kōura and we are blessed to carry this mātauranga of traditional monitoring of our kōura within our Te Arawa Lakes," the post read.
"Willie was the first to laugh and the first to challenge, with an unwavering focus on building our team spirit with honesty and integrity.
"He leaves a legacy for our people and our Te Arawa Lakes that is enduring and will never be forgotten."
A team player was also how Karen Vercoe, who had known Willie for 33 years, described him.
She said the news of his death was "devastating", not just for her, but for past and current members of the club, and beyond.
She knew him from her time as a member of the Rotoiti women's team as well as in her current role as the women's coach and as the chief executive of Te Arawa Lakes Trust.
"He'll be irreplaceable."
He had a passion for the club, she said, but the passion was really for the people.
She said moving forward without a "pillar of the club" would be difficult, and she remembered the heart and soul he put into the club.
"Just an amazing, giving man."