GABRIEL Taloikwai, 65, who died last week on Wednesday night at National Referral Hospital in Honiara was described as a friendliest, most comprehensive and humble person.
Former Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for North West Guadalcanal, Dr Derek Sikua mentioned this in his eulogy on the life of late Taloikwai at Holy Cross cathedral on Saturday.
Ministry of Education and Human Resources permanent secretary, Dr Franco Rodie, his wife Dr Patricia Rodie, senior statesman Paul Tovua, PS of Ministry of Planning and Aid Coordination, Shadrack Fanega, Honiara City Councillor, Eddie Ngava, and expatriates were among friends and relatives that attended the funeral service.
Sikua said Gabriel, or Gabbi as he was known amongst his friends, always care about the welfare of others.
“His favourite quote was as follows: ‘I shall pass through this world but once, any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now, let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again’.
Sikua said he had never met someone as equally impressive, smart, and grounded as Gabby.
“It is not that common at this stage of our careers to have mentors who shape our intellect, interest and life in general.
“But Gabby, my mentor did that,” he said.
“While we were originally brought together on professional purposes, I soon began to learn from his views and perspectives and his wealth of knowledge.
“That will always be fundamental for my understanding of the world,” Sikua said.
He hopes that everyone, when such people as Gabby cross their paths, never take people like him for granted.
“I certainly never did, and never will.
“Duty and hard work, decency, reliability, honour, dignity, respect, dedication and a true professional are all qualities that the late Gabby not only held in high esteem, but practiced every day during his time on earth,” he said.
Sikua said Taloikwai was also a serious and disciplined man.
But he could never resist the opportunity to have a laugh with friends and loved ones, given half the chance.
Late Gabriel was born in 1951 at Fauabu clinic in West Kwara’ae, Malaita province.
But his parents were from Baegu in North East Malaita.
Late Taloikwai was the first born of six children.
He undertook primary education at St John’s Catholic Primary School at Dala, Malaita province, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary school at Tenaru, Guadalcanal province.
After that, he went to do his secondary education at St Joseph’s Catholic Secondary school at Aruligo, Guadalcanal.
Having got his Graduate General certificate in Education at Aruligo in 1970, he went on to the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, where he obtained his Diploma in Education in 1973.
He later went for further studies at the University of Papua New Guinea and obtained his Bachelor of Education in 1981.
In 1989, late Taloikwai obtained a Master in Education from Ottawa University, Canada.
He also attended short courses in basic computing, strategic planning, tertiary and higher education and education project planning, administration and implementation.
Furthermore, late Taloikwai started teaching as a primary school teacher at the Honiara Government Primary school in 1974 and 1975 before becoming a secondary school teacher in 1976 and 1977 at St. Joseph’s Tenaru.
He then moved to the Ministry of Education headquarters in 1978 to become the Chief Education Officer (Secondary), a position he held until 1982.
He became the Director of the Project Planning and Implementation Unit in the Ministry from 1983 to 1985 inclusive before being promoted to Under Secretary (Education) from 1986, 1987, and 1991 and 1992.
The late Taloikwai then served his first term as the Director of the then Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) from 1993 to 1999, and served his second term from 2001 to 2007.
He served as director of SICHE for a period of 12 years.
From 2008 to 2011, he was chair of the National Education Board, and he was also chair of the Education Act Review Taskforce between 2012 and 2013.
He was also engaged by Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development in 2012 to investigate how MEHRD was handling teacher issues relating to their terms and conditions and re-levelling of teacher’s salaries.
Moreover, in the extra-curriculum activities and associations, late Taloikwai was a:
* current member of Honiara Golf Club Committee;
* active organiser of the sporting and cultural youth association of KOSSA for over 20 years;
* member of Solomon Islands National Olympic Committee from 1980 to 1984;
* member of International Olympic Movement;
* Attended Olympic Movement Course, Australia Institute of Sports Canberra, 1984;
* President of Honiara Basketball Association from 1974, 1975;
* Member of Organising Committee for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11’s visit to Solomon Islands;
* Chairman of Board of Managers of Honiara High School (current);
* Current chairman of Chung Wah Primary School’s Parent/Teacher Association;
* First Solomon Islander International Qualified Basketball Referee;
* Represented Solomon Islands in Basketball at the 1969 South Pacific Games;
* Manager of Solomon Islands Basketball team to the 1983 South Pacific Games;
* Manager of Solomon Islands Golf team to the Tahiti 1995, South Pacific Games.
Late Taloikwai was survived by his wife and three children.
His body will be taken to his home village in Malaita where he’ll be buried.
By EDDIE OSIFELO