Niue’s longest-serving politician the late Jack Willie Lipitoa, QSM NDSC was laid to rest at his home in the village of Namukulu yesterday. He passed away on Tuesday afternoon at the Niue Foou hospital. Jack Willie Lipitoa was ninety years old.
Before the funeral service, members of the Fono Ekepule held a special ceremony at the hospital to pay their respects to Jack Willie, as he is fondly known to many.
The special gathering heard from Speaker Hima Douglas, Minister Crossley Tatui and Common Roll veteran O’love Jacobsen who paid tribute to a man who has left a lasting legacy of service and dedication to Niue, a political career spanning some 36 years. Premier Dalton Tagelagi and his Cabinet Ministers joined the members of the Fono Ekepule in this ceremony attended by Jacks family.
His funeral service was led by the President of the Ekalesia Niue Rev. Navy Salatielu attended by hundreds of people who were there to pay their respects.
Minister Hon. Esa Mona Ainuu represented the government in paying tribute to Jack Willie Lipitoa for his many years serving 12 terms, 36 years in the Fono Ekepule, a career that started in 1987 until 2023.
Public Service Commissioner Ida Talagi Hekesi spoke about the 30 years Jack worked as a school teacher before retiring in the mid 80s and became the Assemblyman for Namukulu, a lifelong public service career of 66 years.
Jacks daughter Mrs Nogi Feleti and other family members spoke of a hard-working man who loved and cared for his beloved village Namukulu and his life of service to his village, his family, and Niue. Mrs Nogi Feleti spoke of her father, who found it difficult to accept accolades saying that all praises are due to God not him, he is merely a man who did what he could.
Premier Dalton Tagelagi presented the flag to Jack Willie Lipitoa’s next of kin, his daughter Mrs Nogi Feleti an acknowledgement of the dedicated service to the government and the country as a former member of the Niue Legislative Assembly, the Fono Ekepule.
The smallest village on the island Namukulu with fewer than 10 residents were joined by extended family and friends from around the island to farewell their Ulumotua and former Member of Parliament, the late Jack Willie Lipitoa, a dedicated servant of God and of Niue.
Since his passing, tributes on social media tell a story of a man, small in stature but with a huge heart, very generous with his time and resources, a humble man and dedicated servant of God and of Niue.
Jack Willie Lipitoa was awarded the Queens Service Medal in 2000 and in 2021 the Niue government recognised his service to Niue with the highest national award of the Distinguished Service Cross.
Rest in Peace Jack. Thank you for your dedicated service to Niue.