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GG, Goff, to attend Ratu Mara's funeral

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

27 April 2004

Governor-General, Goff, to attend Ratu Mara's funeral

Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright and Foreign Minister Phil Goff are to attend the state funeral of Fijian statesman Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara on Friday.

“Ratu Mara was a distinguished leader of Fiji, and one of the Pacific region’s most influential statesmen," Mr Goff said.

"He became Fiji’s Prime Minister at independence, and served in that role for 22 years before later becoming President. He had an enormous influence on the shaping and development of his new nation. He was also a founding father of the Pacific Islands Forum and worked tirelessly to further the interests of Fiji and the Pacific region as a whole.

"Ratu Mara had a long personal and professional association with New Zealand. It is appropriate that New Zealand be represented at his funeral at Head of State and Ministerial level," Mr Goff said.

New Zealand's official delegation will pay their respects at Government House in Suva, where Ratu Mara’s body is lying in state. They will sign the condolence book and then attend the State Memorial Church Service at Albert Park, Suva, in the afternoon.

Ratu Mara will be buried on his home island of Lakeba, in the Lau group, next Monday.

All Phil Goff’s media releases and speeches are posted at www.beehive.govt.nz

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