Former Hamilton mayor and Freedom of the City holder David Braithwaite, whose family has a long history of public service, has died today aged 83.
Mr Braithwaite was a Hamilton City councillor from 1991 to 1998 and during that period chaired the operations, financial management and strategic and policy co-ordination committees. He was elected mayor of Hamilton from 2001 to 2004, a role which had been held by his father Roderick Braithwaite from 1953 to 1959.
His mother Kathleen Braithwaite was also elected to Hamilton City Council, serving from 1962 to 1974. She was deputy mayor from 1968 to 1971.
Current Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate today paid tribute to Mr Braithwaite who died this morning. She recognised Braithwaite's considerable leadership and said it was privilege to now lead the city he had contributed so much to during his lifetime.
"Trust Waikato alone has, and continues to have, a very positive impact on our city. But David had many other strong community service ties alongside a number of business and commercial interests," Southgate said.
"Through his property development activities, he activated projects like Centreplace in Hamilton and was influential in the development of FMG Waikato Stadium and Seddon Park.
"Those are big legacy projects which have had a profound impact on our city."
In the 1950s David Braithwaite assisted his father in the establishment of the then Waikato Savings Bank. That evolved into Trust Waikato of which he was founding chairman.
In the 1992 Queen's Birthday honours, Mr Braithwaite was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the Trustbank organisation and the community. He was awarded Freedom of the City in 2018.
The Braithwaite family had also made a very significant contribution to the Hamilton Gardens, she said.
"That alone is a wonderful legacy and elected members and staff at Hamilton City Council send our very sincere condolences to David's family."
Long-term Hamilton City councillor Martin Gallagher, who worked alongside Mayor Braithwaite as a Member of Parliament, said the Braithwaite family had a proud history of stoic public service.
"The Braithwaite family, starting with David's father Rod as mayor and his mother Kathleen as deputy mayor, have made a great contribution to the evolution and growth of our city.
"David proudly continued this tradition of service and philanthropic giving," Gallagher said.
Mayor Southgate confirmed the council would fly its flag at half-mast on the day of Mr Braithwaite's funeral.