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Wednesday, 24 April 2019 09:51 am

Wellington Tongans mourn their king

Mar 28th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

TONGANS from all over Wellington gathered at the Michael Fowler Centre this week to mourn the loss of their King George Tupou V.

Church and community leaders worked together with the Wellington City Council to organise the service.

“It was important for us to help the Tongan Community mourn the loss of King George V as you are part of us,” said Mayor Celia Wade Brown.

The memorial service was led by a powhiri by Kaumatua’s Sam and June Jackson and the Mayor.

A warm atmosphere was set by a choir singing hymns and church ministers exchanging stories about the times they had with King George V.

“I remember crawling towards his feet to ask for lunch money and he gave me $50, which I spent on bread and ice cream for me and my classmates,” said Reverend Viliami Finau (left).

A few tears were shed as Reverend Hiueni Nuku read a biography of the king.
“The sun has set on our home, but it will rise again someday soon,” said Mr Nuku

Tongans’ of all ages, in traditional dress, attended the service and shared mutual feelings about the King’s passing on March 18, 2012.

Many spoken to by NewsWire said they were saddened that the king had a short reign but were also content with the way he gave up most his power and called a democratic election in 2010.

 “Even though I’m New Zealand born, I still feel for our king and our home land,” said Ofa Tu’angalu of Porirua.

MOURNING DRESS: Whitireia Journalism student Isileli Sau and his sister Mele in traditional dress for the service.

Kolovula Murphy head of the Wellington Tongan community organisation Makatu’unga He ‘Ofa agreed.

“We are all sad that King George V has passed on but Tonga will be Tonga.

“Our future or Tonga’s future will reveal itself when the new king is crowned.”
Mela Kaufusi of Newtown spoke of change the King was involved with.

“I’m saddened because he has changed the face of Tonga for the best, including putting through a democratic election.”

One of the speakers, Wellington Deputy Mayor, Ian McKinnon, shared stories about the king and his brothers when they attended Kings’ College in Auckland.
He recalled one incident when they went to visit someone in hospital during school hours.

“We gave him the bouquet of flowers to hold because we knew no Auckland Grammar boy would give us grief as we passed by,” Mr McKinnon said.

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