Jacinda Ardern among mourners as inspirational former deputy PM Jim Anderton farewelled in Christchurch funeral

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has joined mourners at the funeral of former deputy prime minister Jim Anderton, a man she has described as a "towering figure".

Mr Anderton was farewelled at a service in Christchurch this afternoon, after passing away from ill health last week.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was among a host of politicians past and present who attended. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern this week praised Mr Anderton for devoting himself "to public service and to the ideals of the Labour movement".

"He was a towering figure in the Labour movement for several decades. He will be remembered as someone who stood up for his principles and for the people he represented," she said.

Mr Anderton died in Christchurch's Cashmere View Hospital on Saturday, aged 79.

Mr Anderton died peacefully overnight in Christchurch, aged 79. Source: 1 NEWS

Born in Auckland, he entered parliament as the Labour MP for the Christchurch electorate of Sydenham in 1984, before forming the New Labour party and then leading the Alliance.

He served as deputy prime minister under Helen Clark between 1999 and 2002 and was the member for Wigram from 1996 until his retirement in 2011.

Following his death, Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration and current Wigram MP Megan Woods said what she admired most about Mr Anderton was "his courage and that he always did the right thing".

"Jim is going to be hugely missed in New Zealand politics, he will very much be missed locally and particularly in Christchurch," Dr Woods said.

"Fundamentally, Jim fought for people and I think every political decision he put through the lens of how it would impact the people he represented and impact the people in his electorate."

Along with the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance Grant Robertson also attended the funeral service, a Requiem Mass at Sacred heart Catholic Church in Addington.

The funeral of Anderton, a towering figure in New Zealand's political landscape, was held in Christchurch. Source: 1 NEWS

After paying tribute to his father, one of Mr Anderton's sons, Chris Anderton, sang Tom Petty's song I Won't Back Down, and farewelled his father in Te Reo Maori.

As Mr Anderton's casket was carried out of the church at the conclusion of the service, Ms Ardern joined the procession of mourners, walking alongside former National prime minister Jim Bolger.

Also among those attending was Cabinet Minister Megan Woods and former Labour Party leaders David Cunliffe and Phill Goff, along with former National minister Gerry Brownlee.

The likes of former PM Jim Bolger and current politicians were present at Anderton, a long serving politician's funeral. Source: 1 NEWS