The campaigner for better care for cancer patients, Blair Vining, has died aged 39.
In a Facebook post, his family described him as an extraordinary man who had turned his personal tragedy into a battle for better cancer care for all New Zealanders.
“He was the epitome of a humble Southland man who enjoyed the simple things in life, like farming and rugby, thrust into the spotlight when he discovered the inequitable situation many southerners like him found themselves in, following his 2018 cancer diagnosis,” they wrote.
The father of two and former Midlands rugby player and coach was diagnosed with bowel cancer late last October and given six days to live.
Mr Vining organised a petition calling for a national cancer agency, which gained 140,000 signatures.
The government announced its Cancer Action Plan shortly after the petition was presented, which included the creation of a specialist agency.
He also campaigned for a charitable hospital in Southland, convinced that the region had inadequate cancer care compared with other parts of the country.
Mr Vining is survived by his wife Melissa, and two daughters, Della-May and Lily.
rnz.co.nz Republished by arrangement.