Foreign Minister Winston Peters said that New Zealand's Cook Islands High Commissioner, Tessa Temata, has died over the weekend.
Ms Temata, 52, died in Palmerston North and had returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. She was the first New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands of Cook Island descent and the first Pacific Island High Commissioner to the Pacific.
"A respected diplomat with over 25 years’ experience in trade, development and legal matters, Tessa made a particularly strong contribution to deepening New Zealand relationships with Pacific Island countries," Minister Peters said.
"She demonstrated how much of a difference expertise, warmth, hard work and cultural competence can make to New Zealand’s Pacific diplomacy. She will be hugely missed."
Ms Temata also was posted in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Niue and Cook Islands.