On his deathbed, Nauru's former president Sprent Dabwido described the refugee deal he signed with Australia's Julia Gillard in 2012 as "torture". Before his death on Wednesday, Mr Dabwido said he prayed for forgiveness.
About 50 people attended Mr Dabwido's funeral in St Mary and Joseph Catholic Church at Armidale on Monday afternoon.
He was the second son of former parliamentarian Audi Dabwido, and as a weightlifter won the national championships in 1995 and 1996. He was a silver medalist at the Samoa Games in 1995 and competed for Nauru at the 1995 World Championships in China.
Sprent Dabwido was a founder of the Nauru First Party, and elected to parliament in 2004. He was communications minister and oversaw the introduction of mobile phones to the island on September 1, 2009.
He became president in November 2011 after moving a vote of no confidence against Freddie Pitcher, who had been in charge for six days.
He was re-elected to Parliament in 2013 as an MP, but he was indefinitely suspended the following year by the Baron Waqa government.
Mr Dabwido was 46-years-old when he died after a diagnosis of throat cancer last year. It was a terminal diagnosis with treatment for the condition not available on Nauru.
He fled Nauru last year to come to Australia for medical treatment and apply for asylum.