Deputy Prime Minister Hon. J. C. Cocker

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WELCOME SPEECH

By the

For the Opening Ceremony

His Majesty King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV

Of the

New Classroom Buildings of Fangatongo Government Primary School Neiafu, Vava‘u, Tonga

September 16, 2002

 

1. SALUTATION

Your Majesties King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV, King of Tonga, and Queen Halaevalu Mata‘aho Your Excellency, President – Senator Gaston Flosse, Your Royal Highness, Princess Salote Pilolevu Tuita Governor of Vava‘u, Hon Tuita Ministers of the Crown Nobles of the Realm Acting President of the Free Wesleyan Church and Church Leaders Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman:

2. WELCOME

Your Majesties, we praise the almighty father, for his protection and guidance, that he has given you to be privileged to welcome you to the most beautiful primary school in the whole of Tonga.

Your Excellency The President of French Polynesia and Senator Gaston Flosse, welcome to Tonga, and especially to Vava’u. You have visited us on many other occasions but this morning is special, because it marks the end of many months of your great assistance to us.

3. HISTORY

The relationship between our two countries goes back to the 19th century. In 1826, your missionaries, Hape and Tafeta, came to Tonga, to enlighten us to Christianity and bringing with them the first printed bible in the Tahitian language. Today, you bring not only enlightenment, but you also provide classrooms to ease the education of our young people and heal our economy from the ravages of cyclone Waka. It is perhaps ironic that it has taken something devastating such as cyclone Waka for this relationship to be re-kindled and for your boats to re-visit our shores. A warm welcome to you from the heart of the Kingdom.

BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT

Your Majesty,

We gathered here today to celebrate the opening of the new classroom buildings of Fangatongo Government Primary School, Neiafu Vava’u. This is one of the seven Government Primary Schools Classroom Buildings, throughout Vava'u’, that President - Senator Gaston Flosse and the Tahitian Government have generously contributed as part of their aid to the emergency relief, recovery and reconstruction program for Vava’u in response to the damages inflicted by tropical cyclone Waka, on the 31st of December 2001.

THE PROJECT

Mr. President,

The horrendous impact caused by tropical cyclone Waka shows the destructive force of nature and its effects on our lives our properties and our environment. Waka has also demonstrated how vulnerable we are and how little we can do on our own to cope with these unfortunate but unavoidable events.

Tropical cyclone Waka had crippled the Kingdom’s national economy, especially agriculture, fishing, tourism and other industries in Vava’u, Ha’apai and the Niuas.

However, despite these Mr. President, the effect of your Government’s rapid response in providing assistance to the people of Vava’u has resulted in the following benefits.

BENEFITS

Providing immediate relief of food during the emergency stage.

The restoration and reconstruction work on educational facilities such as the one we are opening today will significantly reduce the distribution to the children’s education at the same time providing students with better facilities than before.

The restoration of the institutional infrastructure and essential services will contribute t the recovery of the local, hence the national, economy.

Raising the already existed cordial relationship between the government and people of Tahiti and the Government and people of the Kingdom of Tongs to an unprecedented height.

I strongly believe that this partnership is one of the best strategies for small island nations to combat the negative effects of natural disasters.

VOTE OF THANKS

I would like to thank your Majesties for graciously accepting to open the new classroom buildings of the Fangatongo Government Primary School.

On behalf of the Prime Minister, and the Government of Tonga, I would like to convey our sincere gratitude and appreciation to your Excellency President – Senator Gaston Flosse and the Government and the people of Tahiti for your generosity and significant contribution to the recovery and rehabilitation program for the people of Tonga.

I am sure that the people of Vava’u will remember Tahiti Nui for many years to come and the difference you have made in their lives.

My appreciation is also extended to the Acting President of the Wesleyan Church and other Church Leaders for their support.

Last but not the least I thank all those who assisted with the organizing of this special occasion.

Once again, Measi Poku and Bon Voyage.

I thank you.

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