Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said he was deeply saddened at news of the passing on Sunday of Sir Paul Reeves, former New Zealand Archbishop and Governor-General.
Sir Paul served with distinction on the Commonwealth’s behalf in South Africa, Ghana, Guyana, and most recently as the Secretary-General’s personal Special Representative to Fiji, said a press release from the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
“The loss is felt across many countries and communities of the Commonwealth where Sir Paul’s presence and contributions for the good have been felt. Sir Paul was a true friend of the Commonwealth and its peoples. He served the Commonwealth with passion and dedication,” Secretary-General Sharma said.
“It is a great loss to New Zealand. Sir Paul’s passing is a great loss to the Commonwealth.”
As Commonwealth Special Envoy to Guyana from 2002, Sir Paul played an instrumental role in supporting the creation of a political environment where fair and peaceful elections could take place.
As Special Representative to Fiji from 2007, Sir Paul worked tirelessly in challenging circumstances to encourage dialogue between Fiji’s political and civil society leaders and to press for respect and adherence to Commonwealth fundamental values and principles.
A former Archbishop of New Zealand, Sir Paul Reeves was Governor General of New Zealand from 1985 to 1990. In 1994 he was Deputy Leader of the Commonwealth Observer Group to the South African elections and in 1996 he led the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Ghana elections. From 1995-1997 he chaired the Fiji Constitutional Review Commission.
“My thoughts and prayers, and those of my colleagues who have had the privilege of working with him, are with Lady Reeves and the family at this time of loss. My condolences are also extended to the people of New Zealand, who have lost in Sir Paul a truly remarkable individual who contributed so much to his country, the Commonwealth and the wider world,” Sharma added.