By LULU MARK
A GROUP of the late Sir Mekere Morauta’s maternal cousins with their families stayed back for a while at Independence Hill after he was laid to rest in a tomb on Friday.
As they were taking perhaps the day’s final pictures with the tomb in the background, Eileen Rei recounted some of the many good things that Sir Mekere had done for her family throughout his life.
She highlighted in particular how Sir Mekere always encouraged them to pursue education and do the best they could to reach the highest academic level.
Rei is the granddaughter of Moritorope Elavo, the youngest sister of Sir Mekere’s mother Morikoai Elavo.
“Education was important to him and it was his main focus for us. Education is the key to success is what he always says.
“Every time we go and ask him to assist us in our school fees, he is always there with his wife. He never says no.
“His main objective was to educate us so that we can look after our siblings and we can educate them as well.
“My siblings and I are products of his actions. He is never negative, he is a very positive man.
“He treats all his relatives from his mother’s and father’s sides equally and was always quick to speak out when he sees that something is not right. He was always fair.”
Sir Mekere was buried on Independence Hill on Friday after a funeral service at the Sione Kami Memorial Church attended by widow Lady Roslyn, son James, family members, government officials led by Prime Minister James Marape and Governor-General Sir Bod Dadae.
Eileen and her family remember Sir Mekere as the first person from the family to be buried in Port Moresby as he always made sure that all family members who passed away in the city were taken back to their village in Gulf to be buried on their ancestral land.
“He always takes care of all the funeral expenses.
“His passing is a great loss to us but we are blessed that he had supported us through school and now we can look after ourselves.
“His kindness followed him right up to the end.
“Education was important to him and it was his main focus for us. Education is the key to success is what he always says.”
“He gave our mothers their Christmas vouchers on the Wednesday before the weekend he passed away in.”
Eileen heaped praise on the man who lifted the name of the family to be a national identity.
“He was described as a great national leader and he was indeed a great man in our family. We will always be proud of the fact that one of our fathers was a great leader that laid the foundation of PNG and was once a prime minister too.”’
Eileen and the family stayed at Independence Hill after most of the guests and members of the public had gone.
Deep in their hearts, they knew they would miss close relative who was a kind caring soul who had helped them all.
Sariva lareva, Sir Mekere.