It was with great sadness that I learnt this morning of the death of a Royal New Zealand Navy sailor in the Cook Islands.
Able Seaman Combat Specialist William Paratini Delamere, a member of the crew of HMNZS Otago, died in a motor scooter accident in Rarotonga yesterday (Friday) while on leave. The offshore patrol vessel is in the South Pacific undertaking maritime patrols.
Able Seaman Delamere was a member of the crew of HMNZS Otago as it took me and my party to the atolls of Tokelau earlier this month. They also represented the Royal New Zealand Navy at the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the independence of Samoa, where they participated in an official march past of New Zealand Defence Force personnel.
Able Seaman Delamere's death is a tragic loss for the crew of HMNZS Otago. He was a member of a tight-knit, hard-working and highly-skilled team and his death will be sorely felt by them all.
On behalf of all New Zealanders, my wife Janine and I extend our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and mates-in-arms of Able Seaman Delamere as they come to terms with their loss.
Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae
Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief
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