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Tribute to the Late Tonga Prime Minister Hon. ‘Akilis Pohiva

Pacific People in Aotearoa Pays Tribute to the Late Tonga Prime Minister Hon. ‘Akilis Pohiva

“Ua malie toa, malo tau.’

May I firstly convey on behalf of the Pacific Leadership Forum, our deepest condolences to the immediate family of Hon Samiuela 'Akilisi Pohiva.

To His Majesty King George Tupou VI and the Royal Family, His Majesties Government, Nobles of the Realm and the people of the Kingdom of Tonga, we mourn with you.

We also celebrate the man that he was. He was a son, father, brother, grandfather, uncle, teacher, activist, politician and leader.

Great leaders show up during troubled times and are not just spectators. They drive for reform and change. They stand for something. 'Akilisi chose to stand for the common man. He strove for justice, equality and for human rights in often difficult circumstances. Yet, despite being arrested and even thrown into jail for his beliefs, he remained firm. He never changed his stance or compromised his own values, and his many supporters loved him for that. Testament to the fact he was first elected in 1987 to public office and he largely remained in Parliament as one of the most dominant political figure of his time. Eventually becoming the first commoner to be elected Prime Minister of Tonga by Parliament.

There can be no denying the legacy that 'Akilisi has left behind, and I am mindful of that beautiful Tongan proverb - Kuo mapaki e fa ka oku kei 'alaha... though the pandanus fruit has split it's fragrance lingers on. Indeed, his legacy will live on. 'Akilisi shares a name with the mightiest of Greek warriors at the battle of Troy, Achilles. 'Akilisi was a fearless advocate for democracy and tried his best to lead by example. There has been no other champion for democracy quite like him in the Kingdom of Tonga.

So, like the brave Achilles, rest now brave 'Akilisi and know that you have fought the good fight, you have finished the race and kept the faith.

Toka a koe 'i he nonga moe fiemalie 'a e 'Otua.

Faka'apa'apa atu mo e lotu hufia

Teleiai Edwin Puni
Pacific Leadership Forum

© Scoop Media

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