Four Day Birthday Celebration For Tonga's King Kicks Off In Vava‘u

King Tupou VI turns 58

By Pesi Fonua

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, July 6, 2017) – The four-days celebration of HM King Tupou VI’s 58th birthday began on 4 July in Neiafu, Vava’u.

The celebration began in the morning with a Military Parade at Fangatongo, in Neiafu followed by a Thanksgiving Service at the Neiafu Laumalie Ma’oni’oni Free Wesleyan Church, before the Royal Luncheon at the Helu ‘o Pilolevu Ground.

In the evening there was a Tutupakanava, the lighting of fire torches by school children right around the Puatalefusi, the Port of Refuge.

Vava'u, and particularly Neiafu, was crowded with overseas visitors who had been attending the annual conference of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, which concluded on 3 July. Many foreign tourists are also starting to arrive in Vava'u, for the beginning of the whale watching season.

On Wednesday 5 July, King Tupou VI, Queen Nanasipau’u and Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala with foreign diplomats and guests went on a cruise to the out-lying islands of Vava’u and visited what has been labelled as “marine restricted areas”, where fishing is not allowed to enable the reef, sea shells and fish stock in these areas to recuperate.

The royal cruise went past ‘Utulei, ‘Utungake, Hunga, and Lape before landing at Ovaka Island for a Royal Luncheon. During the cruise, whales made their presence known with a few splashes of water and a show of flukes.

The royal party were welcomed at Ovaka by prominent people of the island, such as Poutele Tu’ihalamaka, Samiu Vaipulu, and the Vava’u People’s Representative for Constituent No. 14, the Minister of Health Hon. Dr Saia Piukala.

After lunch the Royal Cruise visited ‘Eueiki, Taunga, Falevai and Talihau before returning to Neiafu.

The birthday celebration will be concluded with two days of Military Tatoo, today and tomorrow, 7 July.

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

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