Vale – Sir Mekere Morauta, KCMG (12 June 1946 -19 December 2020)

Lady Roselyn Morauta announced yesterday that the Member for Port Moresby North-West and former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta has died.

Sir Mekere was born in 1946, in Kukipi Village, Malalaua District, East Gulf, to Morauta Hasu and Morikoai Elavo. His father, Morauta Hasu, was a leader of the Toaripi people of East Gulf, a Local Government Councillor, and Deacon of the London Missionary Society (later United Church). He was prominent in the Cooperative Movement for the Toaripi Association.

In 1970 Mekere Morauta was the first graduate in Economics from the University of Papua New Guinea. In 1973 he replaced Harry Ritchie as the first National Secretary for Finance.

Sir Mekere was a member of the so-called ‘Gang of Four’, a group of influential young civil service chiefs who played a leading role in holding together public administration and public policy in the formative decade or so after Papua New Guinea’s independence in 1975. The other members of the group were Charles Lepani, Sir Rabbie Namaliu and Sir Anthony Siaguru.

Sir Mekere became a Member of the Papua New Guinea National Parliament in 1997 as a member of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and became PNG’s 7th Prime Minister from 1999 to 2002. As Prime Minister he is credited with initiating significant constitutional and economic reform. Sir Julius Chan has commented on Sir Mekere’s clear vision, meticulousness and determination.

From 1997 to 2012 and 2017 to 2020 Sir Mekere held the seat of Moresby North-West in the national Parliament.

Prior to entering politics, Morauta was Secretary for Finance (1973-1982), Managing Director of the Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation (1983-1992), Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea (1993-1994), a company director and successful businessman.

In 1990 Morauta was made a Knight Bachelor. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

After retiring from politics in August 2012, Sir Mekere was appointed by the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum as the Eminent Person to review the Pacific Plan. The report was published in 2013. In 2012 he was also appointed Chairman of the Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program Company. In 2017 he re-contested for Parliament and won the seat of Moresby North-West.

Sir Mekere is survived by his wife, Lady Roslyn Morauta, and son, James Morauta.

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