Anticipation and excitement in the air as kingdom prepares for the coronation

PHOTO: Her Majesty Queen Nanasipauʻu (in the van) talking to Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva and Princess Lātūfuipeka Angelika Tukuʻaho while visiting Kolomotuʻa on Friday. Photo/Paula Moimoi Lātū

The coronation of Their Majesties King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u Tuku’aho is still two weeks away, but there is a sense of anticipation in the air as the kingdom prepares for what will be the largest event since King George V’s coronation in 2008.

Celebrations surrounding the coronation will officially begin on June 27, but the nation is already in a state of longolongo kātoanga, the feeling that public festivities are about to start.

Gifts have begun arriving for the Royal family and schoolchildren have performed traditional dances  at the palace.

A nationwide clean-up campaign is underway and the government has announced a TP$200,000 (NZ$140,000) plan to dispose of derelict ships in Nuku’alofa’s harbour.

Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva said it was important that when people from overseas arrived in Tonga for the crowning of Their Majesties that the kingdom looked clean and beautiful.

This follows a massive inland clean up in various villages in Tongatapu.

Photos obtained by Kaniva News show the clean-up operation has worked and the project has met with approval on social media.

Their Majesties visited the city of Kolomotu’a on Friday and were welcomed by Hon. Pohiva and the kainga.

Kolomotu’a is where the Royal Palace in Nuku’alofa is located. It is understood that Their Majesties were invited by Namoa-‘O e-Taki Lelei group.

Princess Angelica Latufuipeka led the group in cleaning up of the city.

Lord Vaea leading his kainga to the Royal Palace in Nukuʻalofa. Photo/Supplied
Lord Vaea leading his kainga to the Royal Palace in Nukuʻalofa. Photo/Melemanu Fiu Bloomfield

Fatongia/Duty

In the past couple of weeks the gates at the Royal Palace in Nuku’alofa have been open as gifts have been brought to present to Their Majesties.

Government ministries, certain villages and some groups have presented Tongan goods such as precious mats, ngatu, food and pigs. Some presentation were followed by group dances.

The presentation is known as fatongia, or duty, and has been mainly performed by those who are linked to Their Majesties in blood, responsibilities or ruling.

Last week the queen’s paternal village of Houma presented its fatongia to Their Majesty.

It was led by Queen Nanasipau’u’s brother, Lord Vaea.

They presented mats, ngatu and cakes followed by their traditional kailao, or war dance.

Kuini Sālote College performing for the Queen at Pangai Lahi. Photo/Sia Adams (Facebook)
Kuini Sālote College performing for the Queen at Pangai Lahi. Photo/Sia Adams (Facebook)

Performance

On Thursday about 1000 secondary and primary school students in Tongatapu performed their traditional dances for HM Queen Nanasipau’u Tuku’aho at Pangai Lahi.

This was another fatongia in which dances that have been practised for certain occasions are presented to either the nobles, town officers or the royals before the big day.

The performance in the grounds on the eastern side of the palace was presented by six secondary schools – ‘Apifo’ou College , Lavengamalie College, Queen Salote College, Tonga College, Tonga High School and Tupou College. Two primary schools also performed for the queen.

Invitation

The government has invited 1000 special guests, including leaders, diplomats and religious leaders from overseas to the coronation.

Thousands of Tongans overseas are also expected to join the coronation and various fundraising activities have been launched by Tongan communities in the United States, Australia and New Zealand to help fund people who want to travel to Tonga for the coronation.

Many people will also be in Tonga during the coronation for the Free Wesleyan Church’s annual conference, which will be held in Nuku’alofa from July 7 – 13.

Kaniva News understands the church is organising a choir of 1000 singers to perform an oratorio to their Majesties on Sunday, July 5, at the Centenary Chapel.

The choir will sing for an hour before the church formally announce its coronation greetings to Their Majesties.

Their Majesties vehicle in aone of the road in Kolomotuʻa covered with ngatu. Photo/Paula Moimoi Lātū
Their Majesties vehicle in one of the roads in Kolomotuʻa covered with ngatu. Photo/Paula Moimoi Lātū

The main points

  • With only two weeks to go before the coronation of Their Majesties King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u Tuku’aho, there is an air of anticipation and excitement in Tonga.
  • Gifts have been delivered to the palace, schoolchildren have performed traditional dances and the government has organised a massive clean-up campaign.
  • The government has invited 1000 special guests, including leaders, diplomats and religious leaders from overseas to the coronation.
  • Tongan communities in the United States, Australia and New Zealand have launched fund raising drives to help people who want to travel to Tonga for the coronation.

For more information

Public holiday declared for Tongan coronation (RNZI)

New look expected for Tonga coronation (RNZI)

Programme of events for the coronation (Prime Minister’s Office)

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