New Zealand First To Attend Tongan King’s Funeral
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
23 March 2012
New Zealand First To
Attend Tongan King’s Funeral
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters will pay his respects at the funeral of Tonga’s King George Tupou V who died suddenly in Hong Kong last Sunday, aged 63.
The state funeral ceremony will begin at noon (Tongan time) on Tuesday, March 27. The King will be laid to rest at the Mala'e Kula royal tombs on the outskirts of Nuku'alofa's central business district.
Mr Peters was New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs minister when King Tupou ascended to the throne and began reforms towards greater democracy in Tonga.
“The King gave up much of his monarchical power, a legacy which is far more important than most leaders will leave for their country,” says Mr Peters.
“He was an exceptional man in the context of history.”
Mr Peters will be accompanied by the party’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Le’au Asenati Lole-Taylor who expressed sincere condolences to the King’s family and the people of Tonga.
“The King’s legacy is of ushering in a new dawn of Tongan democracy. This led to an enormous growth in his popularity and respect from among his people and those around the world.”