Pupuke Robati

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Pupuke Robati
5th Prime Minister of the Cook Islands
In office
29 July 1987 – 1 February 1989
Preceded byTom Davis
Succeeded byGeoffrey Henry
Personal details
Born9 April 1925
Died26 April 2009
Auckland, New Zealand
Political partyDemocratic Party

Sir Pupuke Robati, KBE (9 April 1925 – 26 April 2009) was a Cook Island politician who was the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands from 29 July 1987 to 1 February 1989.

Robati was from the island of Rakahanga. He completed his primary and secondary schooling in Manihiki and Rarotonga. He studied medicine at the Fiji School of Medicine and graduated as a surgeon in 1948.[citation needed] On returning to the Cook Islands, he worked in Rarotonga, Mangaia, and Atiu. In 1966, he received training from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Otago in New Zealand.[citation needed]

Robati was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Cook Islands in the 1965 election as independent representing the district of Rakahanga. He was re-elected in the 1968 election, and in 1972 he joined the newly created Democratic Party. He was re-elected in eight more general elections as a candidate for the Democratic Party.[citation needed]

Beginning in 1978, Robati was the Deputy Premier in the Cabinet of Premier Tom Davis. On 29 July 1987, he succeeded Davis as Prime Minister after Davis retired from politics.[citation needed] During his 18 months as Prime Minister, the Parliament of the Cook Islands enacted a constitutional amendment that added a preamble to the constitution which recognised the "heritage of Christian principles" in the Cook Islands and declared that the people of the Cook Islands "remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day, being the day of the week, which, according to a person's belief and conscience, is the Sabbath of the Lord."[This quote needs a citation] The Cook Islands also successfully applied for membership in the World Health Organization during Robati's tenure.[citation needed]

The defeat of the Democratic Party in the election of 1989 ended Robati's tenure as Prime Minister. From 2001 to 2004, he was the Speaker of the Cook Islands Parliament. In the 2004 election, Robati lost his seat to the independent candidate Piho Rua. The election was later subject to an unsuccessful electoral petition.[1] This defeat marked the end of its political career. At the time of his defeat, he was the longest serving Cook Islands MP.[2]

Robati was a boxer, and in 1944 was the Cook Islands' champion bantamweight boxer. He was the chair of the Cook Islands' federation of amateur boxing for more than 30 years.[citation needed]

In 2001, Robati was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.[2]

Robati died at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Cook Island MPs retain seats following appeals". Radio New Zealand International. 3 December 2004. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b Moana Moeka’a, "Former prime minister passes away", Cook Island News, 2009-04-29.