Address by Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP Prime Minister At the Funeral Service for the Late Roger Hau’ofa – Sir John Guise Indoor Stadium, Port Moresby, 10 March 2017
Mrs Pauline Hau’ofa, family, friends, thank you very much on behalf of our country and our people, for allowing us to join you here today, to pay our respects to Roger Hau’ofa.
It is a sad occasion, on the passing of one of the great broadcasters of our country.
While we all know that Roger has been sick for a while, but the passing of a friend is never easy.
Roger is very much loved by our people, throughout our nation.
He is one of our great communicators of our time.
His voice is so distinctive, that you only needed to hear a few words and you knew right away that you are listing to Roger Hau’ofa.
He spoke with all of our people, all of our leaders, for nearly half a century, and he spoke to thousands and thousands of his listeners right throughout the country.
As an interviewer he was one of the best, if not the best in the country.
Roger would analyse and dissect a story, investigate all the substance of that story, and certainly separate fact from fake.
He would make sure the listeners hear the truth.
But most of all he was very fair, and give the person he interviewed a chance to have their say.
Roger carried the respect of all sides of politics and certainly the respect of our country.
His career covered many of the important events of our nation. From self-government to independence, the elections and of course events of the Queen’s visits, as well as many tremendous sporting events that took place in the country. This included the two Pacific Games and many other events that impacted the lives of all our people.
Roger’s broadcasts, and the words that he delivered to our people, certainly must be archived and preserved for our future generations.
Many who follow Roger, and his peers in journalism and especially our young journalists, should look at the examples he set and continue to strive to meet those high professional standards that he set.
The democracy and freedoms, especially the freedom of our media, are very important in peoples lives in our country.
Roger certainly used words to defend those freedoms, to share vital information and keep our people and our communities well informed.
In our country we truly have one of the most robust media, where all topics are well discussed.
Generations of Papua New Guineans grew up listening Roger on radio and of course hearing many of the reports that he covered.
They have been well informed about the many changes that have taken place in our nation.
Rogers voice, his presence, his wisdom will be greatly missed, certainly on our airwaves and certainly by our people.
Over the last few months, we have lost many of our great newsmen, who have left us.
Including late Oseah Philemon and late Susuve Laumea.
These men set very high standards for the way we report and conduct journalism in our country.
They certainly had a love for our nation, and were great communicators to our people.
They are together now, probably swapping newsroom stories, and of course having a laugh about some of the things that are happening in our country today.
Certainly discussing what would be the outcome of the elections, probably wishing they would be covering that as well, with the skills that they have acquired over the many years.
In doing so making sure that our people and our nation continue to have information they need for coming events. Their passion for communication will never be forgotten.
Finally, I’ve known Roger for many years, he certainly has my respect and admiration.
Through his commitment to all his listeners, right throughout the country, he has their respect.
I have always looked forward to the discussions that we had on his talkback show, we will certainly miss those conversations, and of course we certainly miss his own contribution to discussions on national issues that we have.
As I said, Roger was ill for sometime, and this does not make it any less sad for our people, and despite his health challenges he has always had a positive attitude.
Even during these times, you could always hear a smile in his voice and hope in his words.
To Pauline and your children, grandchildren, we thank you for our time we have shared with Roger.
Roger was a great man and has brought joy to millions of our people.
We thank you for sharing Roger with our country and with our people.
May he rest in eternal Peace in Gods Kingdom.
PNC Ialibu-Pangia Peter O’Neill March 12, 2017 9.3 1am