16 Nov 2009

NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands dies

7:20 am on 16 November 2009

New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Te Rongotoa Barrett, known as Tia Barrett, has died at the age of 62.

The respected diplomat was flown to Auckland on a medical evacuation flight last week, and passed away in Middlemore Hospital on Sunday morning after a short illness.

Mr Barrett joined the then Foreign Ministry in 1973, and later led its Maori Policy Unit and was the Chief of Protocol.

He served as a High Commissioner to Solomon Islands and Fiji, and had held the Cook Islands post since January.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully is extending sympathy to Mr Barrett's family, and remembering him as a strong advocate for a Maori perspective in New Zealand's foreign policy.

Mr Barrett is survived by his wife Theresa and two children.