Nauru mourns passing of Chief Justice

His Excellency President Baron Waqa says the nation is deeply saddened by the passing of the Chief Justice of Nauru Joni Madraiwiwi, who succumbed to a brief illness at the CWM Hospital in Suva, Fiji yesterday.

His Honour was appointed Chief Justice of Nauru on September 8, 2014.

Mr Waqa has he was instrumental in the recent reforms of Nauru’s legal system, and “re-established integrity and honour to our court”.

Ratu Madraiwiwi completed undergraduate studies in law at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and a master’s degree in Law from McGill University, Canada.

After working in the Attorney-General’s Chambers in Suva between 1983 and 1991, he went on to serve as Fiji’s Permanent Arbitrator on the Sugar Industry Tribunal until 1997, when he was appointed as a Judge of the High Court of Fiji. He resigned from the bench in 2000.

In December 2004 he was appointed Vice President of Fiji and served in that role until December 2006.

On January 5, 2010 King George Tupou V conferred upon His Honour a Life Peerage for service to the Crown and Kingdom of Tonga and was bestowed the title Lord Madraiwiwi Tangatatonga. He was also awarded the honour of a Grand Gross of the Royal Order of Queen Salote.

His Honour was a grandson of Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi (1859–1920), a Bauan chief, and a great-great grandson of Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau (1815–1883), the Fijian chief who ceded Fiji to Great Britain in 1874.

His Honour is survived by his wife Adi Lusi Tuivanuavou, three sisters and a brother. He will be buried at his home island of Bau in Fiji on Friday October 7, 2016.

President Waqa said Nauru and the Pacific community has lost a great statesman.