Hawke's Bay businessman and philanthropist Graeme Lowe has died after a 15-year battle with Parkinson's disease.
His family said he died peacefully at his Havelock North home yesterday, surrounded by close family members, including wife Jenny, son Andy, and daughters Sarah Whyte and Kate Stace.
Andy Lowe said his 77-year-old father had lived his life to the full.
"We have lost a great husband, father, mentor and friend," the son said. "He has touched the lives of so many, from all walks of life."
A pioneer of the modern meat industry, Mr Lowe led Lowe Corporation from its inception in 1964.
During his career he was credited with helping keep New Zealand's meat industry at the forefront of innovation and leading technologies worldwide.
Andy Lowe said his father had, to the end, been inspirational in his strength and courage while dealing with pain and suffering, and would be greatly missed, he said.
“We will remember him for his relentless energy and work ethic, his leadership, innovation, passion and the strong values he instilled in all of us which included giving back to the communities we work and live in."
Two weeks ago, Mr Lowe was inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame.
In his home region of Hawke's Bay, he donated millions of dollars to support the local community.
Hawke's Bay business and community leader Kevin Atkinson said Graeme Lowe had been the region's greatest contributor and a visionary leader ahead of his time.
“His years of support toward the growth and prosperity of this region, its economy and the local community will be forever cemented in the history of Hawke's Bay."
Born in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Mr Lowe arrived in New Zealand when he was 23. He began his legendary rise in the meat industry in 1964, buying Dawn Meat in Hastings, with two partners.
- © Fairfax NZ News