Bune pays tribute to Tora

Laisiasa Natakubu Tora delivers an eulogy at the funeral service for his father Apisai Tora yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

While serving as a clerk in 1979 for the then Ba district officer, Ratu Kamisese Mara, the late Apisai Tora once challenged a request that he serve yaqona to the late president and paramount chief.

Former Cabinet minister Poseci Bune said the two men shared a unique and symbiotic relationship that lasted almost 50 years.

He made the statements while delivering an eulogy at the late politician and trade unionists funeral service in Sabeto, Nadi, yesterday.

The encounter is recorded in Ratu Mara’s memoir, The Pacific Way.

“I had enjoyed a curious relationship with him,” Ratu Mara shares in the book.

“For when I was district officer Ba, he was my clerk and I found him so efficient that I recommended him for a double salary increment.

“A later successor as district officer Ba, I expected him to serve yaqona when Tora produced a copy of the general orders and asked where such duties were required of a clerk.

“War was declared. “It seemed a minor incident but I am convinced that this was the beginning of Tora’s anti-government, anti-establishment stance.”

Mr Bune said the firebrand Nadi chief also served “with great fortitude, courage, humour, dignity and total dedication” as an executive member of the Fiji Ex-Servicemen League.

Mr Tora was laid to rest at the traditional burial grounds of the Taukei Waruta in Natalau, Sabeto.

Dignitaries from Fiji’s political sphere who attended the funeral service included Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Opposition MP Ro Teimumu Kepa and Speaker of the House Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

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