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Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara

Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara

Prime Minister Helen Clark today expressed New Zealand's deep sympathy to the people of Fiji at the loss of former president Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

"Ratu Mara was a High Chief and a distinguished leader of Fiji. He had a presence and impact that extended beyond his country as one of the Pacific region's most influential statesmen.

"He served Fiji in a number of very senior roles - as Chief Minister, as Prime Minister, and as President. He was a father figure of independent Fiji, a father figure of the Pacific Island Forum, and a very significant Pacific statesperson.

"He commanded respect internationally and had a strong association with New Zealand. He studied here, visited frequently, and had many friends in New Zealand. He also had strong connections to the Maori Queen.

"On behalf of New Zealand, I extend our condolences to his family and to the Government and people of Fiji," Helen Clark said.

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