The second Speaker of the Fono Ekepule Hon. Johnny Tofo Funaki was laid to rest yesterday after his funeral service at the Ekalesia Tamakautoga Petesa II church. He was 90 years old.
Most of his children, grandchildren and extended family travelled from abroad to farewell their matua Tupuna joined by government dignitaries and hundreds of friends to pay their respects to one of Niue’s distinguished public servants.
One of his children, Charlene Funaki delivered his eulogy saying that her father would always remind her to be brief.
Former Premier and a close friend of Funaki’s, Hon. Young Vivian spoke of how their friendship began when they met for the first time as two young Niuean scholarship students about to be shipped to New Zealand.
Hon. Young Vivian recalled how they cried when they said goodbye at the train station, he was going to Wanganui Collegiate and Hon. Funaki was going to Christchurch to Kings College.
Acting Premier Hon.Crossley Tatui thanked Johnny Funakis wife Mrs. Fakahula and their family for the life of service of their late father, paying tribute to one of Niue’s leading public servants during the early years of Niue’s journey to self government and the culmination of Niue’s constitution in 1974.
The late John Funaki started his career in public service in 1953 at the New Zealand Resident Commissioner’s Office before moving on to work in various departments including Education, Health, Justice, and the Treasury.
He served as a Public Defender for a decade and held key positions, including Secretary of Justice and Land Titling Manager. He was appointed as a Commissioner of the Niue High Court in 1991 and later became the Hon. Speaker of the 9th Niue Legislative Assembly from 1996 to 1999.
He was awarded the Niue Public Service Award in 2020 during the 46th Constitution celebration for his unwavering dedication over 36 years in serving the Government and people of Niue.
Hon. Jonny Tofo Funaki passed away on the 19 of November surrounded by his family here on the island.