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PIAF says farewell to Robert E. Worthington
“Needless to say, it is hard to say goodbye to such a great man… and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family,” says Mrs Bopp.
Worthington, who was the Cook Islands Honorary Consul to the United States for 35 years, passed away on August 14th 2008 at the age of 72.
His ashes were scattered at sea from aboard the Hawaiian voyaging vaka, Hokule’a on Monday morning.
Over five hundred people gathered at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Memorial Chapel at Kamehameha Schools, Hawai’i, last Saturday to pay their respects and celebrate his life. Family and friends travelled from as far as the Cook Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, and across the United States to attend the ceremony.
“Bob has been an invaluable member of PIAF since I approached him to be the first chairperson back in 2003,” recalls Mrs Bopp.
He was sought for his overall support and vision in regards to the fight against HIV/AIDS; his pride and commitment to the Pacific Community, both as a Hawaiian and as husband to Cook Islander Jean Rereao Karika; and for his vast experience as a financial director for Kamehameha Schools.
“Bob was a good leader and an invaluable advocate not only for PIAF, but for the Pacific Islands” says PIAF Board member, Bob Parr.
Worthington’s role in promoting and building relationships between the people of Hawai’i, Cook Islands and other Polynesian countries was highlighted by the Programme Director of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Nainoa Thompson, during the funeral ceremony.
Thompson said Hawaiian artists were not invited to the Pacific Festival of Arts in the 1980’s because Hawaii was considered part of America.
“Bob helped to re-establish these relationships [between Hawaii and Polynesian countries] and we need to continue his legacy.”
Worthington is survived by his wife Jean, and children Moana, Teanaroa (Paka), Kamaki, Tapaarii and Tevairangi
PIAF would also like to acknowledge and grieve the loss of two other great men, the late Falani Aukuso, Deputy Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community who passed away on the 31st of July 2008, and the late Greg Urwin, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, who died on the 9th August 2008.
“These three men will go down in history as great Pacific leaders – who made a difference,” says Mrs Bopp.
“As we mourn their loss we should ask ourselves; what we can do to keep the legacy of their work and contribution to our Pacific people alive?”.
For more information contact:
Renagi Katiola Taukarai
Communications & Media Officer, Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation
Rarotonga, Cook Islands Ph:+682 23103 Fax: +682 23102
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media