About 500 people turned out to farewell Wellington kaumatua Sam Jackson at Pipitea Marae.
Mr Jackson, known fondly as Uncle Sam, died last Thursday aged 80 after decades working with community groups and Government departments around the capital.
Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae today paid his respects along with many other dignitaries, prominent Maori, family and friends.
Mr Jackson's eldest grandson, Jason Williams, spoke of his dread of one day losing his grandfather.
"We didn't get enough time ... all we can do now is move forward and try and be half the person you were.
"You've created a gap in our lives that we will have to try and fill.''
Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace was a young boy when he first met Mr Jackson when he worked alongside his father at the Wharf .
He described him as an approachable man who always knew what was appropriate in any situation.
In later years he made citizenship ceremonies in Lower Hutt, where he was always the invited kaumatua, incredibly welcoming and comfortable for the many people involved.
His service to the Wellington district was one of "distinction''.
Mr Jackson is survived by his wife June, who he was jointly awarded with the insignia of Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community in 2010.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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