Tremendous contribution to Pacific remembered

Thursday 14 August 2008, 6:58PM
By Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban will travel to Apia tomorrow to attend the funeral of the former Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Greg Urwin, who passed away at his home in Samoa over the weekend.

“Greg Urwin was well-known and highly regarded across the Pacific for the tremendous contribution he made to advancing Pacific regionalism throughout a distinguished diplomatic career. He was appointed Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum in 2003.

“This is a time of great sadness for Greg’s family and his many friends and colleagues as they seek to come to terms with this great loss. Greg’s funeral will also be an occasion to pay tribute to the significant legacy that he has left the region, including the important work he pursued in advancing the Pacific Plan which was aimed at promoting collaborative regional solutions to the challenges encountered by Forum Island countries.

“A key part of Greg’s gift was his innate understanding of the Pacific and the rich tapestry of cultures that are represented within it. He became close friends with heads of government, ministers, officials and communities in the region, and won their trust and confidence.

“I know that Greg’s wife, Penny, and his family and friends will be receiving many messages of support and prayers at this difficult time from around the region and beyond.

"It will be a great honour to extend New Zealand's condolences and sympathies at the passing of a person who has played such a positive role in moving the Pacific forward," said Laban.

Greg Urwin's funeral will be held on Thursday afternoon Samoan time.