10 May 2012

Former Cook Islands PM Sir Geoffrey Henry dies

1:21 pm on 10 May 2012

The Speaker of the Cook Islands Parliament and former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Henry has died at the age of 71.

Sir Geoffrey entered politics in 1965, at the age of 24, as an independent member for Aitutaki.

He was the leader of the Cook Islands Party from the early 1980s until his retirement from politics in 2006.

Sir Geoffrey served as the country's prime minister for a brief period in 1983, and again from 1989 to 1999.

He became a Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1992, and in February last year became the Speaker of Parliament.

Sir Geoffrey, who was born in Aitutaki in 1940 and is from a family of 16, married Louisa Hoff in 1965. The couple had six children.

Sir Geoffrey had been battling cancer and died at his home in Rarotonga surrounded by family members and close friends.

Plans are being finalised for a state funeral for Sir Geoffrey whose final resting place will be next to his home in Takuvaine.