Lord Luani’s wedding to commoner in Alaska provokes fierce online debate

Queen Nanasipauʻu’s nephew Lord Luani, exchanged vows with ‘Eseta Fukatonga Maka, a commoner, in the United States last week.

Luani’s first cousin, Prince Ata, was guest of honour at the wedding, which was held in Alaska, America’s northern-most state.

Lord Luani’s mother is Lady Luseane Vaea, a younger sister of Queen Nanasipauʻu.

The bride, who is not a member of the nobility, has claimed that she had a child with Mapa Malupō, a younger brother of Hon. Makahokovalu Malupō who has been courting Princess Angelica Lātūfuipeka Tukuʻaho.

The marriage has caused a fierce debate to erupt on social media. There have been exchanges of strong and disrespectful words on Facebook between the supporters of the bride and the groom.

For a noble like Luani to marry a woman who has borne a child to another may cause traditionally minded people to expect a huge reaction of fakalotoloto, or the harbouring of grudges by the families involved in the wedding.

Some of the messages appearing on Facebook show that some people have already taken sides on the issue.

One commentator said on a Facebook group known as Royal Tongan Dynasties/Noble Forum: “My Nephew Lord Noble Luani,ofa lahi atu.(love you heaps) and please No Marriage to Outside Finemotua (a woman who has born a child) hoiiii, temau hae vala pee (we will tear off our clothes to show our dislike) from USA all the Way to Tonga.”

A supporter of Fukatonga wrote in retaliation: “…speak with kindness..be gentle..n loving..n your nephew MIGHT listen to you… .(do not be) ruthless …the olden days are OVER…have you heard of CIVILIZATION? OR your dictionary is missing that word….I GET YOUR POINT…it’s all about that LOVE ..don’t categorized (people)”.

A source very close to Luani’s family told Kaniva News the nobleman had told his mother, Lady Luseane, that his love for Fukatonga had brought him to a situation where they both decided to tie the knot.

The source said Lady Luseane had agreed to the wedding.

According to her Facebook page, Lady Luani was a recruiting and retention NCO with the US Army and Alaskan National Guard.

Members of the kingdom’s nobility have traditionally been encouraged to seek partners among other noble families or the royal family to ensure their social standing. Those who married commoners have been regarded as having degraded their social status within Tongan culture.

It appears, however, that serious changes have affected the royal status quo and young members of nobility no longer want to only seek wives and husbands within the nobility. Instead they are choosing to marry people they love, a trend critics say could slowly undermine the prestige and esteem with which the nobility expects to be regarded.

Lord Luani’s wedding comes after the marriage of Lord Fakafanua, the former Speaker of Tonga’s Parliament to Lady Fane Kite, a commoner, in October.

Lord Luani’s estates are Malapo, Nakolo in Tongatapu and Tefisi in Vavaʻu.

The main points

  • Queen Nanasipauʻu’s nephew Lord Luani, exchanged vows with ‘Eseta Fukatonga Maka, a commoner, in the United States last week.
  • Lord Luani’s mother is Lady Luseane Vaea, a younger sister of Queen Nanasipauʻu.
  • The bride, who is not a member of the nobility, has claimed that she had a child with Mapa Malupō, a younger brother of Hon. Makahokovalu Malupō.
  • The marriage has caused a fierce debate to erupt on social media.

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