Aug 19, 2017 Last Updated 2:11 PM, Jun 12, 2017

BY month’s end, The fate the 2019 Pacific Games will be known. A journey that began five years ago when Tonga won the bid to host the Pacific’s premier quadrennial sports event has turned sour after Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva announced last month his government was pulling out. Pohiva finally came out of the woodwork after months of stifling tactics and constant interference with the organising of the Games that’s left the sporting fraternity in total bewilderment.

Looking at the timeline of events, things would be well on track by now without Pohiva’s unnecessary intrusions.

• October 2012 – Pacific Games Council awards Tonga rights to host the 16th Pacific Games in 2019. In support of Tonga’s bid, then Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano suggested the games would cement the foundation for democracy in Tonga after democratic elections were held in 2010.

• December 2014 – Akilisi Pohiva is the first commoner appointed Prime Minister by the Parliament instead of the King.

• November 2015 – Tonga Games Organising committee awards NZ company Creative Spaces US$11million to commence upgrading works on the Teufaiva Stadium. Then Finance minister Aisake Eke endorsed the deal confirming availability of funds for the project.

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Tongan upgrade

FOR the first time in more than a century, the Anglican Church in Tonga will have its own bishop. Although men with Tongan heritage – Bishop Jabez Bryce and Archbishop Dr Winston Halapua – have led the Diocese of Polynesia, Tonga has always fallen under the leadership of a primate based offshore. Last month Halapua – only the second Pacific islander to head the church since 1908 – announced he would step down in August 2018.

That means the Diocese of Polynesia’s Electoral College will meet over the next 13 months to choose a successor, most likely from priests from its Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand congregations. A popular candidate is the Vicar of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Suva – the young, charismatic, Father Claude Fong-Toy.

There is also expected to be a push for a bishop from the ethnic Solomon island community to which the church has ministered since they were black birded in the 1800s to work on cotton and coconut estates in Fiji. Also in contention are women candidates Sereima Lomaloma and Amy Chambers who were among the first female priests ordained by the church in the Pacific.

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Ode to a Queen

Halaevalu Mata’aho Ahome’e May 1926 - February 2017

MUCH loved by her subjects, respected throughout the kingdom, Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho ‘Ahome’e was laid to rest in the Royal Tombs at Mala’ekula on March 1. The late Queen Mother bore two kings – Tupou VI and his eccentric brother, Siaosi Tupou V, who died in 2012. And she was Queen Consort of Tonga from 1965 to 2006 as wife of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV whom she married in 1947.

Tupou IV ascended the throne in 1966 after the death of his mother, Queen Salote, the previous year in Auckland, New Zealand. A quarter of a century later, Mata’aho – like her mother-in-law – went to New Zealand and succumbed to an illness which she had suffered for some time. Born the eldest daughter of ‘Ahome’e (Manu-‘o-pangai) and his wife, Heuʻifanga, Halaevalu was descended from Ma’afu – the warring prince who governed Lau and threatened to rule Fiji in the late 1800s.

As Ma’afu’s great-great-granddaughter she had blood ties to several Fijian chiefly families including those in Lakeba, Taveuni, Bau and Rewa. Those links were revived last year through the marriage of her niece, Odette ‘Ainise Kilinalivoni Tupouohomohema Taumoepeau-Tupou to Ratu Penaia Kamisese Tuivanuavou (Edward) Ganilau.

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Survivor Tonga

Pohiva defeats Nobles’ motion

THREE years after winning an election, pro-democracy fighter Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva has fought off a second vote of no confidence to maintain his position as Tonga’s prime minister. Behind the unsuccessful motion of no confidence in Parliament is a group of nobles, forced to give up their control of the house in 2010 by command of the late King George Tupou V. Pohiva prevailed by 14 votes to 10 with the Cabinet giving him 12 votes and an additional two from Pro-Democracy Movement Members of Parliament.

The 10 votes against him were from seven Noble Representatives - Lord Tu’ilakepa who tabled the no confidence motion, Lord Tu’iha’angana, Lord Fusitu’a, Lord Tu’i’afitu, Lord Tu’iha’ateiho, Lord Nuku, Lord Vaea - and Samiu Vaipulu, Vili Hingano and Fe’ao Vakata who represent the people.

Survivor Tonga Pohiva defeats Nobles’ motion Vaipulu was Deputy Prime Minister in the last Tongan government to be controlled by the Nobles. Dr Malakai Koloamatangi, Pacific Director at Massey University in New Zealand, told ABC Radio that the motion was a waste of time because the proposers knew they did not have the numbers to topple the government. 

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