5 Aug 2004

Preparations under way for funeral of Fiji first lady

10:18 am on 5 August 2004

Final preparations are under way in Fiji for the funeral tomorrow of the former first lady, Adi Lady Lala Mara.

Adi Lady Lala died two weeks ago, less than three months after the passing away of her husband and longtime prime minister and president, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

Yesterday thousands of people lined the streets of Suva to pay their final respects as Adi Lala's cortege was taken from Suva Private Hospital to the Sacred Heart Cathedral for a requiem mass.

In a tribute, Bau high chief and former High Court judge, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, said her husband's death had left Adi Lala devastated, vulnerable and alone, and providence had resolved her grief in the kindest way possible.

She will be buried at her home village of Lomanikoro in Rewa tomorrow in accordance with the full traditional protocol befitting her status as Fiji's highest ranking chief with the title of Roko Tui Dreketi.

Although it was her wish to be buried next to her husband in Lau, the chiefs of Rewa decided that she should be buried in Lomanikoro alongside previous holders of her title.