He was accompanied by his wife Akaiti Puna.
Speaking at the Australian National University, Puna said the bond forged between the Cook Islands, Australia and the rest of the Pacific islands during the great war remains significant.
Puna was invited to speak at the university to share the history of Cook Islands, Australia and rest of Pacific on Armistice or Remembrance Day.
He said November 11, 1918, on the 11th hour, was a special moment as this was when the guns on the western front fell silent after four years of continuous war.
On behalf of the Cook Islands government and the people, Puna said “They join the people of Australia in paying their deepest respect to the memories of all the brave men and women, sons and daughters of Australia who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the great war and all war since, so that all may enjoy the freedom and blessing that’s enjoyed today”.
He also paid tribute to the sons and daughters of the Cook Islands and the Pacific from Niue, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Fiji and Kiribati who heeded the call to serve alongside Australia and New Zealand in that war.
He said between 1915 and 1918, almost 500 men from across all 15 islands of the Cook Islands voluntarily enlisted in the New Zealand expeditionary forces.
Puna said from historical they were formidable workers.
He added that the bond forged on the battleship of war ensured peace and security, adding it was an integral part of the foundation upon which the countries and people should draw inspiration from.
Puna said the sacrifice was also felt by the small island communities.
“We must never forget them and we will never forget them.”