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Large crowd pays respects to Papa Dan

Monday May 21, 2018 Written by Published in Culture
Family members carry the casket of Papa Dan. Family members carry the casket of Papa Dan.

About 500 people gathered yesterday to pay their final respect to Cook Islands legend Teanuanua Teariki Kamana, OBE, known to most as Papa Dan Kamana, who passed away last week.


Papa Dan was laid to rest at his Nukutaaratea home in Tupapa.

The funeral service was attended by government ministers led by deputy prime minister Teariki Heather, Speaker of the Parliament Niki Rattle, Opposition leader William “Smiley” Heather, traditional leaders, senior members of the community and family and friends of Kamana family.

Head of Cook Islands Christian Church Reverend Tuaine Moutaiki conducted the church service at the funeral.

The passing away of 93-year-old sporting icon prompted an outpouring of grief and tributes from Cook Islanders here and abroad.

The Cook Islands Police Service on Wednesday paid a special tribute to Papa Dan.

The Service and Recruit Wing, now an active eight member team, is named in honour of Papa Dan Kamana. They performed a traditional dance on Wednesday to farewell their elder and mentor and pay tribute to a role model for generations to come.

Papa Dan had a particularly distinguished sports career, and from 1940-1955 was a welterweight boxing champion.

After retiring from boxing at the age of 30, he became a boxing referee for several years, and from 1960 to 1980 he was president of Tupapa Maraerenga Rugby Club. In 1977 he travelled to New Zealand with rugby and netball teams.

Papa Dan was a founding member of the Cook Islands Golden Oldies in cricket and rugby, travelling to New Zealand in 1987 to play in the Golden Oldies rugby tournament. From 1940-1960 he also excelled in tennis and was a men’s singles tennis champion.

In his international sporting career, Papa Dan was a gold medal winner with Tupui Ariki Henry in 1979 at the South Pacific Games in Fiji. He participated in the 1983 South Pacific Games in Samoa, and in 1985 was a silver medal winner in the bowls triples at the Mini South Pacific Games in Rarotonga.

In 1994, he participated in the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, and also travelled to the 1996 World Games in Adelaide, Australia.

Also in 1994, Papa Dan was honoured with the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and in 2004 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his contribution to sports and the community.          - 

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