TONGA'S KING NURTURES SAMOAN LINKS

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By Mathew Lemisio

APIA, Samoa (July 11, 20001 -Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---A number of King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV’s relatives from Samoa and American Samoa have returned from his 83rd birthday celebrations in Tonga.

This year the Tongan monarch invited his Samoan relatives from both East and West Samoa to attend his birthday.

King Taufa‘ahau spoke of these links when he arrived at Faleolo Airport in Samoa to catch a flight to American Samoa before heading to the U.S. mainland.

During his brief stopover, the Samoa Observer had an interview with King Taufa‘ahau. He confirmed he had relatives who came to Samoa in the past and married Samoans.

King Taufa‘ahau invited his Samoan relatives to the birthday celebrations when he was in American Samoa in April.

His Samoan relatives were delighted with the opportunity to reconnect with their Tongan roots.

Muagututi‘a Lama Tuipelehake, a royal relative from American Samoa, told the Samoa Observer: "This was our first reconnection with our Tongan relations, and it was generous of the King to invite us."

He hoped similar gatherings of the family would continue to happen more often in the future.

Samoa's Minister of Land, Survey and Environment, Tagaloa Sale Tagaloa, officially welcomed the king and his traveling companions at Faleolo.

For additional reports from the Samoa Observer, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa Observer.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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