In a statement paying tribute to the widely-respected community leader, who passed away at the weekend, Tetava this week described Papa Dan as a great Cook Islander.
“Papa Dan touched the lives of many people in all walks of life whether it was through the Church, culture, his love of sports – particularly boxing and rugby, or the youth, the Tupapa-Maraerenga village, and politics, where he had served with pride as a minister of the Crown.
“His reach was deep and it was wide and he made himself known as a keen supporter of great interest to those he was close to, his family and community.
Just as Papa Dan had touched many throughout his life and career, so too did he feel touched by the high honour of being bestowed with the title of last year’s Police Recruit Wing: Teanuanua Dan Teariki Kamana Tepuretu Mataiapo Recruit Wing, the Commissioner added.
He marked how touched Papa Dan had been when he was asked if he would receive the honour from the police service.
“He was such a tremendous role model for the police,” says Tetava. “We wanted to name the Recruit Wing after him because of the man he was. He had all the values and qualities of a strong community leader. The young officers stood to learn a lot from the man he was.”
Tetava said Papa Dan took a strong interest in the police, as he did with a range of sectors across the community.
Police Training Officer Senior Sergeant Maevarangi Kirikava said Papa Dan instantly engaged with the new recruits, even being present at times to witness their physical training over their 13-week training course.
On the first Sunday after accepting to be the patron of the Recruit Wing, Papa Dan led the team of 9 to Church for a spiritual blessing, he said.
“He was always interested in the work of the officers and their role in serving the community.”
Those recruits, now an active eight members, stood proudly again with Papa Dan yesterday to farewell their elder and mentor and pay tribute to a role model for generations to come.