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Fiji Time: 5:23 PM on Friday 25 April

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Last journey

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Friday, February 21, 2014

THE funeral for the late president of the Methodist Church in Fiji, Reverend Dr Tuikilakila Waqairatu, brought together Christians from around the country yesterday.

It wasn't only Methodist church members who crowded Suva but people from all walks of life who gathered near Stewart St and along Victoria Parade in Suva to say their final goodbyes to a man they believed was a great leader.

Government dignitaries including the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, First Lady Adi Koila Nailatikau, Bau chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau and other government ministers attended the funeral.

Students, young children, men and women braved the hot sun to bid farewell to the late president and leader.

It was an emotion-packed occasion as family members, fellow Christians and friends tried to comfort each other when the funeral cortege arrived at the Centenary Church.

A fitting three-hour service and nine eulogies were delivered inside a packed church to honour the life of a leader and mentor.

It didn't end there as the funeral cortege was greeted by many bystanders along the Kings Rd who waited patiently to bid farewell to Mr Waqairatu.

At Baker Hall, members of the Nasinu and Davuilevu circuit with students of Lelean and Dilkusha schools awaited the arrival of the body which was accorded a traditional ivakasobu and was also greeted by the combined choir of Lelean Memorial School and the Young People's Department.

The Davuilevu Theological College principal Reverend Joeli Qionivoka, in his closing prayer at Baker Hall, said the burial of the late president should mark a special occasion where people should also bury all the hatred and negativity they had within them.

The late Mr Waqairatu's wife Joana Waqairatu and daughter Roko Seini Senirewa Waqainabete were joined by women of the vanua o Moala and those from Davuilevu during the burial.

The body of the late president also lay inside Baker Hall for a few minutes marking its significance to him as it was a place he had treasured.

He had hoped that the memorial hall would be fully renovated by October.

Mr Waqairatu, 66, was finally laid to rest beside Baker Hall yesterday.