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Dr. Hu'akavameiliku led way for education in Pacific

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Radio Tonga News, Dec. 15, 2008) - The government of Tonga, family and friends last Friday paid their last tribute to the first Tongan scholar with a Doctorate degree from Victoria University, New Zealand before he was put to rest at Mamana he ‘Aho cemetery, Ha’ateiho.

Dr. Hu'akavameiliku graduated with a PhD degree from this well known university after making it the first Tongan graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honour from the United States of America's top institution, Harvard University in 1961.

Friends, family, cabinet ministers including his Majesty King George Tupou V last Friday paid their last respect to a well respected man who was recognized for boosting Tonga’s literacy rate to a very high standard of 98 percent in comparison to other islands in the Pacific.

In conveying the condolences to the widow Fuiva Kavaliku and family, the Secretary to Cabinet ‘Eseta Fusitu’a, said the government of Tonga deeply felt the passing of a well respected scholar.

"I would like to convey our deepest condolences from the Prime Minister and his Majesty's government for the tragic loss of a great man of Tonga, a person who had whole heartily committed to serve the country, government and the people of Tonga, "Mrs. Fusitu’a explained.

"Dr. Hu'akavameiliku performed his all to boost the Royal Family's aspirations and this was recognised overseas. After completing his primary education in Ha'apai, Dr. Hu'akavameiliku entered the former Mathematician school in 1950. It was at the school, that American teachers Edward and Jones Shaw was really impressed with his intellectual mind, friendship, and a reputable young pupil with leadership skills," she said.

‘Eseta said they took him to the States in 1954. "They not only took him there but they ensure to enroll him in the best academic school where young pupils are trained for future leaders."

"He attended Putney from 1955-1957. From there he won the Peter Brooks Saltonstall Scholarship an award that was granted to students with honour passes only. It was his gateway to enter the University of Harvard. He was the first Tongan to study at this prominence university," said ‘Eseta.

According to 'Eseta Fusitu'a, Dr. Hu'akavameiliku was the first local to graduate with Bacherlor of Arts degree with honour Harvard University in 1961. In 1964 he obtained his Master of Degree from Cambridge University in London, the first Tongan with such a qualification from this renowned institution.

"It was during his education there that he did a research on ways to improve education system. This was the last leg of his education undertaken before coming back to further develop Tonga," explained the Chief Secretary to Cabinet.

The deceased is not only recognized here in Tonga but also in the Pacific and world abroad.

He is survived by the wife Fuiva Kavaliku and many adopted children including one illegitimate son, Siaosi Sovaleni.

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