Prime minister Henry Puna, Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters, parliamentary leader of the Opposition William ‘Smiley’ Heather, and former Speaker of Parliament Niki Rattle all delivered moving tributes to Tangi, who passed away aged 67.
“I just want to thank Parliament, on behalf of the family and the extended family, for allowing us to bring him to this place one more time,” said Marsters.
“John is gone, but he has left behind a legacy that we can all look up to,” said Puna. “John is and was a very respectful person. His protocol was impeccable.
“We will miss him – of course we will miss him.”
“John is a character that will not be forgotten,” Rattle said of her friend and colleague.
“He is very much a protocol person, and the staff of parliament will not forget that about John.
“We’ve been blessed – parliament has been blessed and the Members of Parliament have been blessed to have had such a leader in the work of parliament in the Cook Islands. And those of us who have known John beyond that, I say we have been blessed also.
“He’s been a good leader, he’s been a good servant, and we’ve very much enjoyed having him.”
Rattle remembered Tangi as a man who trusted in God and believed in treating everyone with the respect they deserved.
“Everything with John is good – don’t worry, God will provide. And I believe that’s how John has lived his life,” she said.
“So very respectful – a very respectful man. I’m sure we’ve showed him the respect that he deserves, and he showed everybody the respect every other person deserves, and we say goodbye, aere ra.”
From Parliament House, John Tangi was taken to New Hope Church and then on to the Vakatini palace. He will be laid to rest at his family home in Tupapa this morning at 10am.