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A King who reigned until the end

Media Release


11/09/2006

A King who reigned until the end

Deputy Prime Minister Honourable Viliami Tangi officially announced the death of His Majesty the King in Tonga today. His Majesty the King Taufa’ahau Tupou currently rests at Lambert Fountain Mortuary in Papakura, Auckland. There will be a convoy at 6am tomorrow to ‘Atalanga, Tongan Royal Residence, in Epsom.

The late King will lie in state for one evening in New Zealand at ‘Atalanga. No formal memorial service will be held in New Zealand, but it is anticipated that many Tongan churches will hold memorial services for their congregations. In addition, some Church groups and members of the community will be able to pay their respects to the King at the ‘Atalanga Royal Residence. It is understood the Right Honourable Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand will visit ‘Atalanga at 9.30 am tomorrow morning.

The late King will arrive in Tonga on Wednesday morning, during the daylight hours. He will be carried in a New Zealand Royal Defence Force C130 aircraft with members of the Royal Family and staff. He will lie in State at the Palace.

A State Funeral for the King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV will be held on Tuesday the 19th of September. After the burial, a state mourning period of one month will be observed. The Royal court will observe mourning for a period of six months. Lord Chamberlain, Honourable Fielakepa explained that; “The observation of the mourning period is in accordance with realities of modern day and business interests in Tonga”. The Lord Chamberlain acknowledged that Tonga has adapted to changing times.

Honourable Fielakepa expressed sadness for the passing of a great leader, not only of Tonga but also of the Pacific. “He will be remembered as a working Monarch - a Christian Monarch and a working Monarch - who worked until the end.” The late King appointed two new Ministers to Cabinet only weeks before his passing.

ENDS

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