Tributes flow in for former Fonterra chairman John Wilson

Tributes have been flowing for former Fonterra chairman John Wilson, who died on Monday at the age of 54.

In July of last year Mr Wilson announced his intention to step down from the role of chairman to focus on his health. 

He then retired from the co-operative's board during November's annual meeting. 

Fonterra chairman John Monaghan said it was a great loss.

"We have lost a friend, colleague, leader and champion for our industry much too soon. Our thoughts and deep gratitude for all that he contributed go to his family and friends."

Others who have paid tribute include Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor, who wrote on Twitter that he had great respect for Mr Wilson's farming knowledge and views. 

New Zealand Agricultural Trade Envoy, Mike Pederson said he was saddened by the loss.

Federated Farmers National Dairy Executive and Vice President of Golden Bay Wayne Langford posted a photo of a Fonterra flag at half-mast.

Chief Executive of DairyNZ Tim Mackle said it had been a sad week with Mr Wilson's passing, who he said was committed to the dairy sector.

Mr Wilson is survived by his wife Belinda and four daughters, Sophie, Victoria and twins Tessa and Libby.