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Published: 2012-07-12 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council has today paid tribute to one of Maoridom’s most respected leaders, Timoti (Timi) Te Heuheu, who died early this morning.

Mr Te Heuheu’s involvement with the council extends to the 1990s when discussions began with Ngati Tuwharetoa, ahead of the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 1998.

Chairman Peter Buckley said: “Timi has been a strong leader for Ngati Tuwharetoa and has been the key to the council’s positive relationship with the tribe.

“With his help, the council has been able to build a sound relationship with members of the Ngati Tuwharetoa board.

“Over the years Timi has provided invaluable support to councillors. His high level comments, views and direction at a governance level have helped in the development of many plans, projects and policies,” Cr Buckley said.

Of note was his role on the joint working group for the 2020 Taupo-nui-a-tia project, which aims to see a 20 per cent reduction in nitrogen leaching into Lake Taupo by 2020.

“Timi’s passing is a significant loss and will be felt not only by councillors, but also by many staff who have worked closely with him over the years, including members of the Tai-ranga-whenua team.

“On a personal note, it has been during my term of office for the regional council that I have developed a strong friendship with Timi. I’ve been able to call him any time and we have enjoyed many conversations over the years.

"He has been a wonderful leader to work with and I have been deeply saddened by his illness and, today, his passing.

“Timi had a stately, perhaps even regal presence about him. On behalf of the council, I’d like to extend my sincerest condolences to his wife, Georgina, and their whanau,” he said.