NEWS

Big Farewell For Sir Timoci

The former Chief Justice, Sir Timoci Tuivaga was farewelled at the Nasese Methodist Church in Suva yesterday. His memorial service was attended by the President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konousi Konrote,
09 Jan 2016 16:00
Big Farewell For Sir Timoci
Relatives carry the casket of Sir Timoci Uluiburotu Tuivaqa at Nasese Methodist Church yesterday. Photo: RONALD KUMAR.

The former Chief Justice, Sir Timoci Tuivaga was farewelled at the Nasese Methodist Church in Suva yesterday.

His memorial service was attended by the President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konousi Konrote, former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Chief Justice Anthony Gates, former Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki, members of the Diplomatic Corps, friends and families.

In delivering the eulogy, Mr Fatiaki said: “Sir Tim’s choice to be Fiji’s Chief Justice was the most suitable choice.”

He said Sir Timoci described his appointment as “the highest water mark and pinnacle of my career.”

He said in February 1972, Sir Timoci was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court alongside the late Justice Ghana Mishra and Sir Clifford Grant who had been elevated to the magistracy.

“Sir Clifford Grant later became Chief Justice and upon his departure, and with his apparent support, Sir Timoci was appointed to succeed him as Chief Justice.”

He said Sir Timoci’s appointment was not without comment and controversy because he did not have the support of leading politicians at that time.

As was traditional of Chief Justices in many Commonwealth countries, he said, Sir Timoci was knighted in 1981 at Buckingham Palace by

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. According to Mr Fatiaki, few Chief Justices in the world can claim to have successfully survived one coup d’etat.

“In Sir Timoci’s case, he survived three. He was a model for living life well, for long term friendships and the pursuit of excellence. He was a man who shunned controversy and saw the good in all his fellow members. Sir Tim was always courteous and patient in court with an elegant turn of phrase in his judgment.”

His friend and fellow golfer, Ram Bajekal said: “Sir Timoci sent his last email to National Golf Association of Fiji president, Isimeli Bainimara hours before his death. The mail said “Tau, all systems firing, why not nine holes practice for the Jonati Mavoa Tournament? See you there.”

His granddaughter Vilmaina Tuivaga described his tukai (grandpa) as a very caring and helpful man.

When the coffin was brought out of the church, the Fiji Police Band played a tune (Veitabayabaki eda sa sivia) that Sir Timoci requested them to compose about him.

The late Sir Timoci was buried at the Vatuwaqa Cemetery. He was laid to rest in the same grave plot with his later former wife, Lady

Vilimaina Tuivaga. She died in 2000.

Edited by Maikeli Seru.

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