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Peters on death of former Fijian Minister Vakatora

13 June 2006

Peters on death of former Fijian Minister Vakatora

Foreign Minister Winston Peters today expressed his sadness at the death of former Fiji government minister and public servant Tomasi Vakatora, who died on Monday aged 80.

"Mr Vakatora was a greatly revered member of the Fiji community, who had a long and illustrious political career in Fiji and was respected by both sides of the political divide," Mr Peters said.

“He was one of three members of the commission led by former New Zealand Governor General Sir Paul Reeves that carried out the review that led to the establishment of Fiji’s 1997 multi-racial Constitution.

‘New Zealand is very appreciative of the part Mr Vakatora played in bringing our two countries closer. His role in the review of Fiji’s constitutional arrangements also demonstrated his commitment to democracy.

"He was a close friend of New Zealand and will be missed by many people here and in Fiji," Mr Peters said.

Mr Vakatora had a successful career as a teacher, soldier and public servant before entering politics in 1977 as a member of the Alliance Party. He held several Cabinet portfolios before being appointed Speaker in 1982.

ENDS

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