THE passing away of one of Fiji's beloved sons, Sir Moti Tikaram, has been described as the end of an era for Fiji.
The Fiji Association of Auckland sent a statement yesterday, reminiscing the late ombudsman's time in New Zealand.
Dr Satendra Singh of the association remembered Sir Moti as his mentor and voiced admiration for Sir Moti's achievements.
"After Fiji's independence, I served in the Foreign Affairs department and remember Sir Moti as the first ombudsman, who often stepped in to help us receive visitors from overseas," he said.
"He was always generous with his time. Later, our paths would often cross in Auckland as he was a regular visitor who greatly supported the Fiji association. Sir Moti regarded NZ as his second home, given his early student days and long connections."
Dr Singh said Sir Moti was very close to the late Dr Mutyala Satyanand and Tara Satyanand, parents of the former NZ Governor General, Sir Anand Satyanand.
He recalled the swearing in of Sir Anand in 2006 where the then New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, officiated. It was attended by Sir Moti and Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.
"The NZ prime minister welcomed the Fiji representatives in her speech, mentioning the close links that existed, exemplified by Sir Moti and Ratu Joni's presence."
Dr Singh said Sir Moti supported the annual essay competitions offered by the New Zealand High Commission and the Fiji Association in New Zealand.
Sir Moti made sure he attended the annual prize giving ceremonies to meet the winners and offered words of encouragement, Dr Singh said.
"I always told Sir Moti he was a citizen of the world in that he had friends and admirers in virtually all countries."
Sir Moti studied at the Auckland University and also took law studies in Wellington.