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It was with great sadness that the ANU community learned of the passing of our colleague, mentor and friend Guy Powles, a distinguished lawyer and legal scholar of the Pacific.
Guy had a long career where his deep interest and passion for the Pacific Islands saw him contribute significantly to the scholarship of the Pacific and strengthening practical legal systems in a number of Pacific Islands nations.
Whether it was the political reform processes in the newly democratic Tonga, the intricacies of the magistrate system of Papua New Guinea or the place of chiefly systems in the Fijian constitution, Guy studied thoroughly and thought deeply about what was happening and how it would impact on Pacific peoples and their futures.
Guy was involved in the establishment of the University of the South Pacific’s Law School in Vanuatu, and served as a member of the Nauru Constitutional Review Commission and as an expert advisor to the Tonga Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission. His contributions were immense.
Anyone who had the privilege of working with Guy will know how supportive and kind he was, and how much he was willing to give advice or mentorship to those who needed it. He was a generous person and a true gentleman.
A passion for the Pacific was something that led Guy to travel and explore many parts of it over the years. The things he observed, and the people he met, moved him to share his experiences and knowledge with both his peers and, importantly, the next generation of scholars.
Guy’s love for the people and law of the Pacific, and his strong contribution to scholarship in the region, will be remembered by many generations of scholars to come. His contributions have undoubtedly made a difference in a number of Pacific nations.
The ANU Pacific Institute and broader ANU community send our aroha to Maureen, their children and grandchildren and wish them comfort at this sad time. We are grateful to have known Guy and will honour his contributions to the Pacific in the best way we can. May he rest in peace. Haere atu ra e te rangatira, moe mai ra.
Areti Metuamate, Australian National University