Tonga Queen Mother's Body Arrives Back Home

Royal Cortege procession makes its way to Royal Palace where a vigil is taking place

By Linny Folau

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 28-March 1, 2017) – There was surreal quietness and sadness at the Fua'amotu International Airport and in Nuku'alofa, after the RNAF Hercules touched down at about 1:05 pm this afternoon, carrying the casket of the late Queen Mother Halaevalu Mata’aho (90) from Auckland.

HRH Princess Pilolevu Tuita, Princess Angelika Latufuipeka Tuku’aho and other members of the Royal Family accompanied the Royal Cortege on the aircraft that left Whenuapai Airfield at around 9:30am.

HM King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u Tuku’aho waited at the VIP lounge at Fua'amotu.

Crown Prince Tupouto’a 'Ulukalala and Crown Princess Sinaitakala Tuku’aho accompanied by Prince Tungi and Prince Kalaniuvalu welcomed the Royal Cortege and funeral party as they disembarked the aircraft.

Soldiers of the HMAF Bearer Party slowly marched toward the aircraft and carefully carried the casket. The Nima Tapu and the Prime Minister Hon ‘Akilisi Pohiva were attending.

Rain then started to fall as the royal casket was put into the vehicle and rain continued to pour down as the Royal Cortege procession made its way from the airport at Fua'amotu.

Thousands of students from various Government primary, secondary and tertiary schools as well as various church schools sat lining the streets bowing in respect for the late Queen Mother, despite the rain.

Luckily, the rain held off as the Royal cortege arrived in Nuku'alofa and made its way to the Royal Palace, where the HM the late Queen Mother Halaevalu Mata'aho lies tonight. 

The capital was strangely quiet this afternoon even though thousands of students sat for hours in respect on the side of Taufa'ahau Road leading right up to the Royal Palace. Queen Salote College students sat lining the driveway on Pangai Lahi next to the Palace.


The takipō, royal vigil has now begun at the Royal Palace grounds where ongoing prayer services are being carried out throughout the night until early tomorrow morning Wednesday, March 1.

The first prayer service was held this afternoon by the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga led by President Rev Dr 'Ahio, after the royal casket was conveyed to Royal Palace. Other churches will follow and carry out prayer services at different times tonight.

It is expected that the final respects will be paid to the late Queen Mother after the vigil and before the royal casket is conveyed on a catafalque to carried by more than 100 men along Hala Tu'i to the Royal Tombs, Mala'e Kula starting at 9:30am.

It is a special public holiday in Tonga tomorrow for the royal funeral.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
Copyright © 2017 Matangi Tonga. All Rights Reserved

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We express our Sincere Condolences and Sympathies to Their Majesties The King and Queen, and the People of Tonga on the demise of The Queen Mother. May God bless Her soul. Sincerely from My Goodself and My Beloved Students at Menara Ilmu English Language Specialist Centre, State of Kedah, MALAYSIA.

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