Sir Ian served as Cook Islands Honorary Consul to Australia from 1995 and for more than 20 years supported the Cook Islands government’s efforts to strengthen relations with Australia.
He was highly regarded and respected by both countries and used his considerable influence to cultivate relations between the two governments as well as within academia and the business community.
Working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI), Sir Ian’s efforts to cultivate relations between the two governments contributed to what is a strong bilateral relationship today.
In the last 18 months, Rarotonga has hosted visits by Australia’s Foreign minister Julie Bishop, deputy prime minister Warren Trust and, most recently, Governor General Peter Cosgrove earlier this month.
This year also saw the second intake of New Colombo students with placement of 12 final year Australian Law students in Government agencies for a three-week internship in July.
Sir Ian was awarded the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service in the Australian honours system, with an Order of Australia. He was a founding Chancellor for the University of Western Sydney, a position he held between 1989 through to 2000.
He was married to Nancy Lantz and together they had three daughters, one of them Elizabeth who has helped Sir Ian in recent years perform his Honorary Consul responsibilities.
“Sir Ian was an assiduous diplomat who had an abiding interest in and passion for the art and craft of diplomacy and international relations,” said Foreign secretary Tepaeru Herrmann.
“I had the pleasure of meeting with Sir Ian earlier this year and his deep love for the people of the Cook Islands was plain to see. Our heartfelt appreciation and condolences go to his family at this time.”
Cook Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand Teremoana Yala attended Sir Ian’s family service in Sydney yesterday on behalf of the Government of the Cook Islands.
Aere ra Sir Ian.