Ngāpuhi elder Kingi Taurua has passed away after a long battle with cancer.
The 80-year-old served in the Vietnam War, and has also been a strong political figure - advising Labour's Helen Clark and National's Jenny Shipley in their ministerial roles.
Mr Taurua was born in 1937 at Oromahoe in the Bay of Islands. He used the name Albert in his younger years, having been told he needed an English name. He reverted to Kingi on enlisting in the army.
He recently led a hikoi to send a message to the new Government to follow through on its promises.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern paid tribute to Mr Taurua on The AM Show on Friday.
"I knew Kingi. I think any politician who travelled to Waitangi or had much to do with Ngapuhi knew Kingi. He was an iconic New Zealander - he stood up to the Crown. He challenged us when we needed to be challenged, and I think he's a huge loss."
His body will be brought back to Te Tii Marae in Waitangi on Saturday.