Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fijian chief to escort the king

Fijian chief to escort the king
SAKIASI NAWAIKAMA - Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A FIJIAN chief will escort Tonga's King Tupou from the palace to his seat on coronation day.

The role of the Tui Soso, from Nukunuku Village, in Lakeba, will be a feature of the ceremony governed by strict protocol. Yesterday, thousands of school children converged at Teufaiva Stadium to pay their respects to their king with performances that captivated the hearts of locals and invited dignitaries.

Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama arrived in Tonga at 10am yesterday with his wife Mary and missed out on the educational cultural day. He enjoyed an afternoon walk with his wife by the seawall near the palace, escorted by two Tongan guards.

Also arriving in the island kingdom yesterday were heads of state from Samoa, French Polynesia, Marshall Islands and a representative from the Niue premier.

Part of the educational culutral day celebrations included the lakalaka, kailao, Fa'ahula, a school brass band march and the ma'ulu'ulu performance that consisted of a large number of performers as never seen before in Tonga.

Leader of the Fijian community in Tonga Josateki Wainiqolo yesterday met Commodore Bainimarama and was told interim Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and his wife Adi Koila would represent the vanua and Fiji Government at today's traditional installation ceremony.

Mr Wainiqolo said Ratu Epeli and Adi Koila would lead the Fiji delegation in the presentation of traditional gifts today at the traditional installation of King George Tupou V.

The ceremony has no legislative or executive powers and its membership consists of nobles who themselves have been installed into ancient hereditary titles belonging to several aristocratic lineages which formed the power base of the Tu'i Kanokupolu dynasty.

This was when King George Taufa'ahau Tupou I in 1875 pronounced Tonga a constitutional monarchy.

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