Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara dies
Tributes pour in for Fijiís greatest ever leader
By Maika Bolatiki, Fiji
Sun, 20 April 2004
Fiji has lost its greatest leader of all time, the 84-year-old Turaga na Tui Nayau, Tui Lau and former President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Kapaiwai Tuimacilai Mara.
The paramount chief was called to rest at 11pm on Sunday at the Suva Private Hospital.
Making the official announcement of the death of the paramount chief, the Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase said: ďThe high chief and great leader who was the father of our nation, is with us no more.Ē
ďNow this country he served so selflessly will unite in its grief and through its tears and its memories.
The Prime Minister said Fiji had lost a giant among men.
The Turaga na Tui Nayau had done a lot for the country, Mr Qarase said. It was he who took the country to independence and provided a sure and guiding hand as Prime Minister.
He became the symbol of unity when he occupied the position of President.
Ratu Sir Kamisese dominated Fijiís national life and his leadership was marked by discipline, vision and a keen and penetrating intellect.
His dedication to the country was total and he worked tirelessly to make a unified nation from different communities; a nation to stand tall as a model of progress and harmony.
The Prime Minister said the Turaga na Tui Nayau was at ease in the corridors of parliamentary power and in ways of statecraft and international relations
His western education, influenced by Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, had prepared him for the modern leadership role he was destined to assume.
However, the Tui Nayau was equally at home among his own people, fulfilling the chiefly obligations which held together a traditional way of life which had survived for more than three thousand years.
The Prime Minister reminded the nation of what his paramount chief said when he received Fijiís documents of independence from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
Ratu Sir Kamisese described it as a proud day.
In accepting independence, he said the people of Fiji did not only take responsibility for themselves, they took it on for each other.
Mr Qarase said the most fitting way the country could honour Ratu Sir Kamisese was to practise this principle daily.
It was through the 70s and 80s the United States Australia and New Zealand regarded Ratu Sr Kamisese as the key to keeping the South Pacific free of communist influences.
The United States persuaded the paramount chief to ban Soviet vessels from Fijiís ports during a period when Moscow was trying to establish a presence in the region.
Ratu Sir Kamisese also was for many years a major figure in trade negotiations between the European Union and more than 70 African, Carribean and Pacific countries.
The Turaga na Tui Nayau will be given a full State funeral and the Government will liaise with the family to ensure that his wishes and theirs were respected, Mr Qarase daid.
A cabinet committee has been appointed by the Prime Minister to plan all the arrangements for the funeral of the late paramount chief.
Chronological record of the career of the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Kapaiwai Tuimacilai Mara, GCMG, KBE, KStj, MSD
Born on May 1920 at Lomaloma, Vanuabalavu, Lau.
1926 - 1928 Sacred Heart Convent, Levuka
1928 - 1933 Lau provincial Council, Tubou, Lau
1933 - 1936 Queen Victoria School
1937 - 1939 Central Medical School, Suva
1939 - 1940 Marist Brothers High School, Suva
1940 - 1941 Sacred Heart College, Auckland, NZ
1942 - 1945 Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand
1946 - 1949 Wadham College, Oxford, England
1961 - 1962 London School of Economics, England.
1949 Master of Arts, Oxford University
1961 Diploma in Economics and Social development, London School of Economics.
1969 Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Guam
1971 Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford
1973 Honorary Doctor, of Laws, Otago University
1974 Honorary Doctors, of Laws, University of New Delhi
1978 Honorary Doctor of Political Science, Yonsei University, Republic of Korea.
1980 Honorary Doctor of Laws, Tokai University, Tokyo, Japan Honorary Doctor of the University of the South Pacific, Fiji
1982 Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Papua New Guinea
1986 Honorary Fellow, London School of Economics
1961 Officer of the Most Excellent order of the British Empire
1969 Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order .of the British Empire
1973 Sworn of Her Majestyís Privy Council
1974 Grand Master of the Order of the national lion, Dakar Senegal
1983 Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George
1995 Meritorious Service Decoration Chancellor of the Order of Fiji Companion of the Order of Fiji Knight of the Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem
Knight Grand Cross of the Pian Order with Star
1956 Lieutenant, Fiji Military Forces Government Service and Conference and Meetings Attended
1950 Appointed Administrative Officer, Fiji
1953 Fijian Member of the Legislative Council
1959 Acting Deputy Secretary for Fijian Affairs
1962 Divisional Commissioner Eastern
1963 Member of the Executive Council
1964 Member for Natural Resources and Leader of Government Business
1965 Attended Constitutional Conference, London
1967 - 1970 Chief Minister
1970 Attended Constitutional Conference, London
1970 - 1987 Prime Minister
1971 Foundation of the South Pacific
Attended Commonwealth Leaderís Meeting, Singapore
1972 Alliance Party won first General Elections under 1970 Constitution Attended meeting of Commonwealth Sugar Producers, London
1973 Attended second meeting of Commonwealth Sugar Producers, London Standing Committee of Commonwealth Sugar Producing Countries established to unify approach to European Economic Community Chaired meeting of African, Caribbean and Pacific group with European Community Countries, Brussels that led to Lome Convention
Attended Commonwealth Leaderís Meeting, Ottawa, Canada.
1975 Attended signing of Lome Convention, Lome, Togo
Attended Commonwealth Leaderís Meeting, Kingston, Jamaica
1977 General Election lost; reinstated as Prime Minister by Governor General Chaired joint meeting of African, Caribbean and Pacific group and European Economic Community, Suva Attended Commonwealth Leaders, Meeting, London
1979 Attended Commonwealth Leaderís Meeting, Lusaka, Zambia.
1980 Inauguration of Pacific Islands Development Program
1981 Attended Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Melbourne, Australia
1982 General Election won, Prime Minister. Chaired Regional Commonwealth Heads of Government, Suva
1983 Attended Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, New Delhi, India
1984 Chaired joint meeting of African, Caribbean and Pacific group and European Economic Community, Suva
1985 Attended Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Nassau, Bahamas
1987 General Election lost; demitted office. Adviser for Foreign Affairs in Governor Generalís Advisory Council
1987-1992 Prime Minister for Interim Government
1992 Prime Minister of Caretaker Government, 20 April to 29 June
1992 First Acting President, Republic of Fiji, June
1992 - 2000 President and Commander in Chief, Republic of Fiji
2000 Resigned as President