Pita Paraone - Photo: NZFirst
Northland's Ngāti Hine people are in mourning, following the death of well-known kaumātua, and Waitangi stalwart, Pita Paraone.
Mr Paraone died at 2am this morning in Auckland Hospital.
A whānau member says the much-loved elder had heart surgery about three weeks ago, and failed to recover.
Mr Paraone was known for his quiet but firm diplomacy and was for many years the programme organiser for Waitangi Day, and the chair of the Waitangi National Trust.
He was also a former NZ First MP.
His family are now preparing to bring him north for the tangihana at his home marae in Mōtatau in the Bay of Islands.
More to come...