NEWS

Colonel Paul Manueli ‘A StraightForward Man’

During his tenure as Commander Colonel Manueli was the chief architect for the formation of the Naval Service (FNS) and the Engineer Squadron which has now evolved into the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Engineers Regiment. Colonel Manueli, he said, was instrumental in implementing Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara’s dream of Fiji’s participation in the arena of peacekeeping with the United Nations.
02 Mar 2019 10:11
Colonel Paul Manueli ‘A StraightForward Man’
Lydia Manueli (middle) at the funeral service of her late husband and first local RFMF Commander Colonel Paul Manueli on March 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The first local commander of the then Royal Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Colonel Paul Manueli was yesterday described as a straightforward man who worked within the law.

His character was such that he even charged and found his own father guilty of breaching a village bylaw in the colonial days. After imposing a fine on his father for tying his horse near his village of Noatau, Rotuma, Colonel Manueli then paid the fine himself.

This was revealed to senior Government and military officials, foreign dignitaries, family members, colleagues and friends during the funeral service for Colonel Manueli at Suva’s Churchward Chapel by close relative Fatiaki Misau.

Colonel Manueli’s son, Peter, said they would miss a disciplined dad.

Former RFMF Commander Paul Manueli's funeral service at Churchward Chapel on March 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Former RFMF Commander Paul Manueli’s funeral service at Churchward Chapel on March 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

In delivering the military’s eulogy, retired Brigadier General Apakuki Kurusiga said, “Today we mourn the passing away of a distinguished son of Fiji and a highly decorated Officer of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF). One whose achievements are forever etched in the history books of the RFMF.”

During his tenure as Commander Colonel Manueli was the chief architect for the formation of the Naval Service (FNS) and the Engineer Squadron which has now evolved into the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Engineers Regiment. Colonel Manueli, he said, was instrumental in implementing Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara’s dream of Fiji’s participation in the arena of peacekeeping with the United Nations.

Peter Manueli while speaking at his father and former RFMF Commander Colonel Paul Manueli's funeral service at Churchward Chapel on March 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Peter Manueli while speaking at his father and former RFMF Commander Colonel Paul Manueli’s funeral service at Churchward Chapel on March 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Meanwhile, it was an emotional scene at the Suva Cemetery (Lovonilase) as senior military officers, families, friends and colleagues bade farewell to Colonel Manueli.

He later become a senior Government minister, senator and successful businessman and was 85 years old when he died last Saturday.

105-pound artillery guns added to the spectacular farewell with other former RFMF commanders also in attendance.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, a former RFMF and Navy commander, marched behind the hearse with other senior members of the RFMF and Government Officials from Albert Park to Ratu Sukuna Park.

Also present were two other former RFMF commanders, Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

Colonel Manueli was among the first few Fijians to attend the prestigious Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in southeast England.

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

Edited by Epineri Vula

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