Former Minister Hon Pokotoa Ikiua Lalotoa Sipeli passed away yesterday in Australia surrounded by his family. He was 80 years old.
Hon Poko Sipeli is one of the longest-serving members of the Fono Ekepule as the Assemblyman for the village of Liku for 30 years. Last year he was awarded the highest national award Niue Distinguished Service Cross for his dedication and lifetime service to the Government and the people of Niue.
Hon. Pokotoa Sipeli was first elected as the Assemblyman of Liku in 1993. In 2008 he was appointed as minister in the late Sir Toke Talagi’s Cabinet until 2020, serving 12 years as a minister. Some of the ministerial portfolios under Hon Sipeli include Education, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Minister of Infrastructure and from time to time he was appointed Acting Premier during his 12 years as a Cabinet minister. He was the only minister in the late Sir Toke Talagi administration, that served with him from the start to the end of the Toke Talagi administration in 2020.
During his thirty years in politics, he has seen the administrations of five former Premiers from the late Hon. Frank Fakaotimanava-Lui, Hon. Sani Elia Lakatani, Hon. Young Vivian, the late Hon. Sir Toke Talagi and current Premier Dalton Tagelagi with whom he served together as Cabinet Ministers in the Sir Toke Talagi administration.
Hon. Poko Sipeli also saw the careers of several Speakers starting with Sam Pata Emani Tagelagi, John Tofo Funaki, Lata Fonu Tama Posimani, Atapana Siakimotu, Ahohiva Levi, Togiavalu Pihigia and current speaker Hima Douglas.
Before becoming a politician, Poko Sipeli worked at the Education Department, starting his public service career as a teacher before moving to work at the main Education Department.
The former Minister last year relocated to Sydney because of his health. He is survived by his wife Pati, their children, and their many mokopunas.