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[Media Release - OPM] PRIME MINISTER PAYS TRIBUTE TO FORMER PRIME MINISTER HON JIM MARURAI

5 November 2020


“Today we mourn the passing of our former Prime Minister Jim Marurai on his beloved island of A’ua’u Enua – Mangaia” said Prime Minister Mark Brown a short time ago.

Jim Marurai was born in July 1947 on Mangaia and went on to become one of that Island’s favourite sons.


He grew up in the village of Ivirua and his schooling began at Oneroa Primary. Education and politics became the pillars of his later life. From Oneroa he came to Rarotonga to Tereora College to begin his secondary education, before moving on to Napier Boy’s High School in New Zealand and Otago University.


His political life began when he was elected to the Cook Islands Parliament in a by-election in 1994 serving as an opposition backbencher until after the 1999 general election when his two careers - teaching and politics – merged; when he was appointed Minister of Education. He served in that role in various coalition Cabinets led by former Prime Ministers Sir Geoffrey Henry and Dr Joe Williams.


From December 2004 until November 2010 he was Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, leading a series of governing coalitions among the various political parties.


“Today I acknowledge his term as our nation’s leader and the achievements of his government,” said Prime Minister Mark Brown speaking from Rarotonga.


“On behalf of the people and the Government of the Cook Islands we mourn his passing and salute ‘Gentleman Jim’, a man for the people, one who was extremely proud of his humble beginnings and enjoyed great loyalty from his people of Ivirua, who all told, elected him to Parliament for 20 years.”


Jim Marurai finally stepped down in 2017 because of ill health, his wife Tuaine predeceased him in 2005.


Prime Minister Brown is leading a delegation of mourners to Mangaia today to attend Mr Marurai’s funeral which is being held this afternoon. The delegation includes Numangatini Ariki, members of Mr Marurai’s family, the Leader of the Opposition and Cabinet and government colleagues.


“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time of great loss” the Prime Minister concluded.


As a sign of respect, the Prime Minister has asked that all government flags be flown at half-mast for the rest of the week.


ENDS: Enquiries to Jaewynn McKay +682 55486; jaewynn.mckay@wovenpacific.com

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