NEWS

Tributes Pour In For Late Colonel Paul Manueli

He was Rotuma’s representative to the Great Council of Chiefs, which was abolished in 2012.
27 Feb 2019 10:00
Tributes Pour In For Late Colonel Paul Manueli
The late Colonel Paul Fanifau Manueli

Tributes began pouring in yesterday for the late Colonel Paul Fanifau Manueli, the first local Commander of the then Royal Fiji Military Forces.

The Commander of Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, who led the tributes, said Colonel Manueli saw many firsts during his tenure as Commander RFMF.

Colonel Manueli had served as Commander RFMF from 1974 to 1979 and subsequently became a successful businessman and politician.

He had served as a Cabinet minister in Sitiveni Rabuka Government.

He was Rotuma’s representative to the Great Council of Chiefs, which was abolished in 2012.

Colonel Manueli, 85, was from Noa’tau District in Rotuma.

He died because of a short illness at his residence in Namadi Heights, Suva last Saturday.

He is survived by his wife Lydia, son Peter, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Commander Naupoto said Colonel Manueli saw the formation of the Navy, the RFMF Engineers and also propelled RFMF into the international peacekeeping under the United Nations.

When Commander Naupoto joined the Military, Colonel Manueli had retired.

He said he would never forget the first time he met him.

“I was still a student at Queen Victoria School and I accompanied our English teacher Mr Shackleton, a retired Australian colonel, on his trip to Suva.

I was to pick up our film reels for that weekend.

“As we were walking past the old DC Southern building near the bus stand, Colonel Manueli who was in uniform and standing there looked towards us, came to attention and saluted.

“They shook hands with my English teacher and I was introduced to Colonel Manueli and then my English teacher told me later that he was Colonel Manueli’s instructor when he was at the Australian Military College.

That shows the character of Colonel Manueli.”

Colonel Manueli’s granddaughter Farah Manueli said her grandfather was the most regal man she had known.

Colonel Manueli will be accorded a full military funeral on Friday.

After the funeral service at Churchwood Chapel, Rewa St, the military will march with the cortege through Suva City to Walu Bay and Suva Cemetery, for the burial.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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