Daughter holds father’s photo as his body arrives back in Tonga

A daughter of Paulo Kivalu was holding a picture of her deceased father while his body had been carried away from an Air New Zealand aircraft yesterday in Tonga.

About dozen men carried the coffin on their shoulders into a building at the Fu’amotu International Airport where hundreds of mourners were waiting.

The daughter, visibly heartbroken,  walked in silence in front of his father’s coffin while holding the photo.

The body of the 40-year-old was welcomed into a poignant and emotional ceremony attended by relatives and government officials at the airport.

It was later taken to his family home in Fanga.

A fruit picker who joined thousands of Tongans who were in Australia to work on the Seasonal Worker Programme, Kivalu died in hospital two weeks ago after he was rushed from work.

The cause of his death had not been officially released

Tongan fruit pickers were under the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

This means the Ministry’s newly appointed Minister Penisimani Fifita had faced a sad situation in the first day of his job.

He was sworn in yesterday morning before he and his staff had to be at the airport in the afternoon to welcome Kivalu.

Kivalu’s body was laid to his resting place this afternoon.

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