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Tonga: King George Tupou V Grants Honours

From the Office of the Prime Minister
Nuku'alofa
31 July 2008

His Majesty King George Tupou V Grants National Honours

Over two hundred people from many parts of Tongan society and overseas friends of the Kingdom today received the first awards in a new national honours system introduced by His Majesty King George Tupou V. It was inaugurated to coincide with King George's coronation celebrations.

The honours are based on the Order of the Crown and the Most Illustrious Order of Queen Salote Tupou III. They are categorised in the four classes of Knight Grand Cross, Grand Cross, Commander and Member. In an Investiture ceremony at the Royal Palace, His Majesty bestowed the awards of the Order of the Crown. Awards for the Most Illustrious Order of Queen Salote were presented by Her Royal Highness Mele Siu'ilikutapu (Grand Master).

Visiting overseas royalty and senior Tongan royals were honoured with pre-eminent awards under both Orders.

Other recipients included members of the nobility, Cabinet Ministers, church leaders, public servants, diplomats, renowned sportspeople, entrepreneurs, farmers, a musician, a poet and those who have given personal service to the Sovereign.

A surprise award for valour was granted by His Majesty to fifteen-year-old, Tae Kami, a cancer patient who has inspired Tongans with her positive attitude to fighting her illness. The nation and Tongans overseas have followed Tae's story through her personal website.

After the Investiture of the Order of the Crown, His Majesty then visited Tae at her Nuku'alofa home. He presented her with a special medal in recognition of her courage. They spoke for several minutes. Tae said farewell to her King with a rendition of her song, "Walk On, Walk Strong." The King waited while Tae tuned her guitar.

"Eventually I managed to get it right and all went well," she said. "It was a very special visit."

The full list of recipients of the Order of the Crown and the Most Illustrious Order of Queen Salote is to be published soon.

Authorised and Issued by the Office of the Lord Chamberlain, Nuku'alofa, Tonga, 31st July 2008

ENDS

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