Prime Minister Peter O'Neill paid tribute to the former Southern Highlands Provincial Assembly Member, the late Koke Itua.
Mr. O'Neill said the people of Southern Highlands have lost an iconic leader, who worked very hard since the colonial era, to bring the province to where it is now.
Late Koke was born in 1941, and started his career as an interpreter for Pangia district during the colonial era.
Late Koke became the first councilor of the Walapape village in the Pangia district in 1972, and was elected as a council president for Pangia district in 1974.
He was than appointed as the Chairman of Pangia District Area Authority, and was elected as the first Southern Highland Province Provincial Assembly Member in 1980.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, who accompanied the body to Pangia on Friday, said it will take a while for another leader, who will be responsible to fill the late Koke’s shoes.