Pikia, 35, of Ngati Hikairo and Ngati Maniapoto descent, collapsed in a Rotorua café on Sunday and passed away soon after.
Friend Matai Rangi-Smith, a presenter on Good Morning, said Pikia had worked in broadcasting for almost 20 years, on Te Kaea on Maori TV and then on Maori language news programme Te Karere, on TV1, as a presenter and producer.
He described his friend as “definitely a unique character” – “jovial, a bit of a jester”.
Smith said Pikia, from Kawhia in the western Waikato, was a kapa haka connoisseur who knew every kapa haka throughout the country.
“He could easily get up and make a performance – he was pretty good with the poi too.”
Smith said Pikia was passionate about his job and it was “such a sad loss” to the maori broad-casting community.