Fiji’s “father” dies at 83

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Prime minister for more than 20 years, Ratu Mara suffered a stroke in 2001 after he was forced to stand aside as president during the 2000 coup.

It was the final blow to the traditional chief and Oxford scholar’s efforts to build a prosperous, multiracial and democratic nation.

During the first two decades of independence as Fiji’s first prime minister – a position he was to hold for 17 years – Ratu Mara trod the delicate line between the aspirations of his own indigenous people and those of Fiji’s other communities.

Ratu Mara is survived by his wife, Ro Lala Mara, three daughters and two sons.