A great teacher who taught Tongan language dies

ʻEtimani Tāufa, a former high school  teacher , a civil servant and was known for his work in revising the Tongan grammar while the Tongan version of Tonga’s law book was rewritten and published recently, died Saturday, November 8, his eldest son ʻIsileli Tāufa has confirmed this to Kaniva News.

ʻIsileli said ʻEtimani, 78,  was sick before he died.

ʻEtimani, an ex-student of Tupou College, worked as a clerk at Tonga’s Printing Department, later known as Ōfisi e Kalonikali (Government’s Chronicle newspaper’s office) from 1958 – 1959.

He then taught at the Free Wesleyan Church  Middle School in Haʻafeva known as Kāleli where he became headteacher from 1969 to 1970.

ʻEtimani  was employed by the Marconi Communication station in Fongoloa, Fasimoeafi in 1971 – 73.

He taught at the FWC Middle School in Pea, known as Pēteli where he also became the headteacher in 1973 – 74.

The highlight of his teaching career at church schools was in 1977 – 1982 when the Nomuka Middle School in Haʻapai was upgraded to become Tupoutoʻa college in 1980 . It followed with the ministry of education approval of the Tonga Higher Leaving School Certificate (THLSC), the highest certificate a student can obtain locally at the time, to be sat by the Tupoutoʻa students at its school.

Normally when students from the school reached the level where they have to sit the THLSC  they have to travel by boat to Tongatapu and continued studying there to get the certificate.

ʻEtimani returned to government and  taught Tongan language  at Tonga High School (THS) from 1984 until 1995.  He then worked in the Parliament of Tonga in 1996.

ʻEtimani was also known in the local media for his knowledge on Tongan cultures and traditions.

News of his death was quickly met with tributes and condolences on Facebook from his kāinga (relatives) and  ex-students who he taught at schools.

“He was a great and humble teacher,” one commentator says.

“Rest in Peace my great teacher at THS”, another commentator says.

ʻEtimani is survived by his beloved wife, Palu, their three children and one adopted child.

His burial service will take place at Pulupulu cemetery in Tofoa this Wednesday 12.

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