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Heads of State and state funerals: what we're missing out on
The funeral of rugby legend Papalii Peter Fatialofa (aka "Fats") is taking place on Sunday. Fats passed away in Apia, Samoa in the past week. His body has been flown back to Auckland to be laid to rest. At the airport, Samoa's head of State lead the mourning:
Samoa's Head of State Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi led mourners from the government, the Samoa Rugby Union, business and fans of Fatialofa at a government service.
Contrast this with New Zealand's experience in losing one of our most famous citizens, Sir Ed Hillary, in 2008. Back then we created some controversy by simply pointing out that the Royals being unable to attend Sir Ed's State Funeral was a perfect example of what we're missing out on by not having a New Zealander as our head of State. The Royals were all busy in the UK and unable to attend (despite a Buckingham Palace official saying they'd make an announcement).
So instead, our de facto head of State, the Governor-General attended to "represent" the Queen. That raised the simple truth that converting the Governor-General to a New Zealander as head of State would've had far more mana at the scenario we found ourselves in 2008.