Politics

Apisai Tora Laid To Rest In Unique Funeral

Politicians and businessmen were among the hundreds who converged at Sabeto to pay their last respects to the politician who served in Parliament following Fiji’s independence from Great Britain in 1970.
15 Aug 2020 14:46
Apisai Tora Laid To Rest In Unique Funeral
Pall bearers carry the casket of the late Ratu Apisai Tora at his village of Natalau, Nadi on August 14, 2020. Photo: Mereleki Nai

The late Taukei Waruta, Mohammed Ratu Apisai Vuniyayawa Tora, was laid to rest at Natalau, Sabeto, Nadi yesterday in a unique funeral.

He had adopted the name Mohammed after converting to Islam.

His casket was carried by pallbearers with his bête (traditional priest) guarding it until his burial. This is customary of the chiefly system in certain parts of the western division.

Before he was laid to the rest, the Muslim community conducted their final prayer, Janaza.

Politicians and businessmen were among the hundreds who converged at Sabeto to pay their last respects to the politician who served in Parliament following Fiji’s independence from Great Britain in 1970.

Mourners at the funeral of the late Ratu Apisai Tora at his village of Natalau, Nadi on August 14, 2020. Photo: Mereleki Nai

Mourners at the funeral of the late Ratu Apisai Tora at his village of Natalau, Nadi on August 14, 2020. Photo: Mereleki Nai

First, he was an Opposition Member of Parliament with the National Federation Party (NFP) in 1972 and then as a Government MP with the Alliance Party in 1982.

He was a former Minister for Communications, senator, soldier and trade unionist.

Those who attended his funeral included the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Minister for Tourism Faiyaz Koya, Minister for Forestry Osea Naiqamu, Member of Parliament and Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa, Mick Beddoes, Tui Vuda Ratu Eparama Kitione Tavaiqia, Tui Nawaka Ratu Asaeli Driu and former senior civil servant Poseci Bune.

The Bete seated in the front during the church service, speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and MP Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa at the Natalau village, Nadi yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

The Bete seated in the front during the church service, speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and MP Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa at the Natalau village, Nadi yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

Mr Bune, during his eulogy on behalf of the Fiji Ex-Servicemen League and the Queen Victoria School Old Boys (QVSOB) Association said the late Mr Tora’s commitment spoke volumes of his love and affection for his people.

“As a chief he honours his people. His conversion to Islam was a testimony. He was a warrior of Betorarau, the sun sets with another sunrise,” Mr Bune said.

“The late Taukei Waruta was among the pioneer students of QVS, while it was based at Nanukuloa, then to Lodoni before the school moved to Nukuvuto. He was also a former President QVS Old Boys Association,” he said.

The late senator was also a former President of the Ex-Servicemen’s League, following his return from military service in the Malaya Campaign.

As a trade unionist, he was President of the North West Branch of the Wholesale and Retail General Workers’ Union.

Members of Parliament were present at the church service included Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Minister for Tourism Faiyaz Koya and Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and MP Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

Members of Parliament were present at the church service included Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Minister for Tourism Faiyaz Koya and Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and MP Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

The late Mr Tora died peacefully at Lautoka Hospital last Thursday (August 6).

He was 86 and had been battling cancer.

Mr Tora is survived by 10 children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

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