Sir Moti Tikaram’s death in Suva yesterday was the end of an era for Fiji, says the president of the Fiji Association of Auckland Dr Satendra Singh.
Singh said Sir Moti Tikaram had a long involvement with New Zealand, and his interactions with the Fiji Association in Auckland are remembered.
“In the five decades that I had the privilege of knowing Sir Moti Tikaram, he was always a mentor and someone we all admired.
"After Fiji’s independence, I served in the Foreign Affairs Department and remember Sir Moti as the first Ombudsman, who often stepped in to help us receive visitors from overseas.
“He was always generous with his time. Later, our paths would often cross in Auckland as he was a regular visitor who greatly supported the Fiji Association. Sir Moti regarded NZ as his second home, given his early student days and long connections.”
Dr Singh said Sir Moti was very close to the late Dr Mutyala Satyanand and Tara Satyanand, parents of the former NZ Governor General, Sir Anand Satyanand.
Dr Singh recalled the swearing in ceremony held in Wellington in 2006, for the Governor General, which Sir Moti Tikaram and Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi (then Vice President) attended to represent Fiji.
“The NZ Prime Minister welcomed the Fiji representatives in her speech, mentioning the close links that existed, exemplified by Sir Moti and Ratu Joni’s presence.”
Sir Moti’s close friend Narayan Marolia said Sir Moti was a very humble man who liked to socialise with everyone.
“He was a considerate man who always loved the company of his friends and family,” said Marolia.
“We were not surprised when he became Fiji’s first Ombudsman because of his hard and dedicated work,” he said.
“He really was an inspiration to all his friends and especially to his family,” he said.
“His passing away is a great loss to all of us as he was a great man who honoured his country in everything he did,” he said.
Marolia said Sir Moti was suffering from a long illness.
He is survived by his three children, Savita, Anil and Sunil.
By Farzana Nisha and Mereani Gonedua