16 Nov 2009

Sudden death of New Zealand diplomat a huge loss to Maori

4:31 pm on 16 November 2009

The co-leader of the Maori Party in New Zealand says the passing of Tia Barrett is a huge loss for Maori.

Mr Barrett was New Zealand's High Commissioner in the Cook Islands.

Dr Pita Sharples says he's had the privilege of working closely with Mr Barrett and had the utmost respect and admiration for him as a person, and as an ambassador for Maori and New Zealand.

Dr Pita Sharples says Mr Barrett was very good at building bridges with people from different nationalities and incorporated Maori culture and customs throughout his career.

"You could not find someone more well suited to being a diplomat. His caring, and his attention to detail, his desire to ensure that Maori custom is observed and respected on all of these trips, because most of our trips have been with Maori delegations, has been second to none, the effort that he's put in. What a big loss. And what a sudden loss."

Dr Pita Sharples, the co-leader of the Maori Party.