25 Sep 2008

Former New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands passes away

7:35 pm on 25 September 2008

New Zealand's former High Commissioner to the Cook Islands and New Zealand First MP, Brian Donnelly has died following an illness.

Mr Donnelly, who was 59, died at the Mercy Hospice in Auckland today.

Before becoming an MP in the first MMP election in 1996, he had worked in the education field for 25 years.

This included teaching in the Cook Islands where he became fluent in Cook Islands Maori.

Mr Donnelly later returned there as High Commissioner, but resigned suddenly earlier this year because of ill health.

New Zealand First Party Leader Winston Peters described Mr Donnelly as a man of great intellect and compassion for humanity, who was always committed to improving the lives of children and their teachers.

Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says Mr Donnelly was a fine person and a good MP who was highly principled and ethical.