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Friday 11 May 2012 | Published in Regional


New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has described the death of Sir Geoffrey Henry as a sad day for the Cook Islands.

Key extended the New Zealand government’s sympathy to the people of the Cook Islands via New Zealand press yesterday and said there would be appropriate representation at Sir Geoffrey’s funeral today.

Key said he believed he had met Sir Geoffrey once before and was saddened to hear of his death.

”Obviously we were saddened to learn of his death. We respect the role he played as former prime minister of the Cook Islands,“ Key said.

New Zealand Labour has also extended its condolences to the Henry family via Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.

”Labour is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Geoffrey Henry,“ Sio said.

”He was a shining star of Cook Islands politics, and helped to form and then lead the Cook Islands Party through many years of success.

”He had an historic lineage as cousin to the Cook Islands founding leader, Albert Henry. He was a friend to New Zealand and studied here in Wellington at Victoria University.“

Sio said he would remember Sir Geoffrey for the last time he met the former Cook Islands prime minister.

”The last time I saw him was in 2011 during the Pacific mission and he seemed well to me then. I am sorry to hear his illness defeated him so soon,“ Sio said.

”Sir Geoffrey was a passionate supporter of rugby and was an active and happy personality.

”On behalf of my Labour colleagues I am passing our sincerest condolences to his extended family and to his surviving spouse and children.“

On Wednesday, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said he would miss Sir Geoffrey’s forthright views, colourful personality and lively character.