Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ratu Mara - Pillar of Pacific, October 10, 2009

It would require many books to be written by many different people before we can fully appreciate the life story of the late Tui Nayau, Ratu Sir Kamisese Kapaiwai Tuimacilai Mara says his friend, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.

At the launch of late Ratu Mara’s biography today at Motel 6, an emotional Sir Michael said that no single book can fully tell the life story of Fiji’s late President and Prime minister and a dominant political figure – late Ratu Mara.

The book, “Tuimacilai, A life of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara”, is a work of leading historian Dr Deryck Scarr.

Tuimacilai, he said admirably assembles together a mosaic that brings out a picture of a man deeply steeped in culture and tradition, well educated, thrust into the responsibilities of leadership and genuine desire to make a positive contribution towards the lives f all those that call Fiji home.

Sir Michael said as far as he can see, every policy he formulated, every position he adopted, either domestically or internationally, was predicted on what he believed was good for and in interest of the people of Fiji.

“This was the main driving force behind his social welfare policies in health, education, affordable housing, cooperatives, etc,” he told the present families and guests at the function today.

“To this end, he was “not afraid to pursue policies even if they entailed sacrifices not popular with his people”.

Sir Michael and late Ratu Mara knew each other when they were both young men starting out on their public and political careers.

The two met frequently over the years and formed a deep personal and professional relationship.

Sir Michael visited the late statesman shortly before he died in April 2004.

“In international relations, he was a guiding light to many of us Leaders from emerging independent Pacific Island Nations,” he said.

“He was a real bati –warrior for the interests and needs of Pacific Islands countries.”

Also Sir Michael was honoured with the rare and elaborate Fijian ceremony by the Vanua ko Lau of Suva today. This was last performed for Late Ratu Mara at a meeting of the Lau provincial council in 2000.

“For me personally Tui Nayau was my mentor who I have tried to emulate but will never equal, whose counsel I have valed but have since missed an whose friendship I did not deserve but will always treasure,” he added.

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