Tongan MC has emotional moment during China’s Guangdong expo 2016

The Tongan Master of Ceremonies at the 2016 Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo had an emotional moment.

Telēsia Afeaki Tonga was one of the key figures with the Tongan tourism promotion team that went to China with a mission to promote tourism in the kingdom.

She unexpectedly met Tongan publisher Kalafi Moala at the Tongan booth while they were preparing to march to the Tongan stage and perform to the visitors.

Telēsia became emotional when he saw Moala and wept as she hugged him.

It was all about her late father Viliami Afeaki, who was a prominent Tongan Master of Ceremonies widely known in the kingdom for his oratorical skills and fantastic elocution.

Viliami died last year in the United States.

Telēsia instantly remembered her father when she saw Moala.

“Kalafi was my father’s very best friend,” she told visitors while the Tongans performed on stage.

Moala, who praised the organisation of the Tongan tourism promotion team and its performances, was at the Expo as part of a programme organised by the Communist Party of China (CPC) for a team of Pacific Island journalists.

The CPC invited him and the journalists to a 10-day forum in the provinces of Hunan, Beijing and Guangdong.

This was the first time the country’s CPC had invited journalists to come and exchanged ideas with its leaders.

Dongguan city

The show was held at the Guangdong International Modern Exhibition Centre in the city of Dongguan in Guangdong province.

Guangdong has a population of about 94 million. By the end of 2015, Dongguan had a “permanent population” of 8.25 million of which 1.95 million were registered residents.

According to Guangdong International Modern Exhibition secretariat (GIMES), more than 200,000 overseas Chinese, including 700,000 living in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan were from Dongguan, “which made it a well-known hometown to overseas Chinese.”

In 2015 the total output of Dongguan city achieved RMB 627.5 billion yuan and its import and export international trade registered US$167.67 billion, ranking fifth in China.

During the Expo GIMES invited various “professional purchasing agents” to come and make purchases at the exhibition.

These including China’s five national commerce associations which are China General Chamber of Commerce, Chinese Supermarket Joint Procurement and Transaction Joint Conference, China Commerce Association for General Merchandise and China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textile and Apparel.

They also invited key commerce associations from 14 Chinese provinces such as Fujian and Hunan.

“In terms of overseas purchasing agents, at present, nearly 20 overseas national industrial and commercial institution such as European American Chamber of Commerce & Industry and others from Malaysia, South Africa, India have concluded procurement group co-operation agreement with the secretariat,” a statement from the organisers said.

An estimated 25,000 professional agents attended the show, GIMES said.


Foreign investors from more than 40 countries and regions have offices in Dongguan.

GIMES said 11,000 foreign enterprises, including 49 of the world’s top 500 companies, had established themselves in the city and had spent nearly US$80 billion.

Industries located in the city including electronics and information, electrical machinery and equipment, textile and garments, food and beverage, paper making and paper products.

Donguan has become a world renowned manufacturing base and a major export base of China, GIMES said.

“It is jokingly said within the industry that a traffic jam in Dongguan entails a shortage of supply worldwide,” GIMES said.

Shipment of smartphones from Dongguan made up 18 percent of the world supply.

“Out of every 10 pairs of sneaker around the globe is made in Dongguan and one in every five persons on average has a sweater which is made in Dongguan”.

Opportunity for Tonga tourism

Tonga’s participation at the Expo also opens its tourism doors to 52 countries in the world including Mauritius, Italy and South Africa which took part for the first time this year.

About 1340 exhibition booths at the centre were from overseas countries including Tonga.

Visitors watched Tongan dances such as the ma’ulu’ulu, female group dances and fa’ahi ula.

MC Telesia had no time to lose and she kept on telling hundreds of visitors including Chinese and overseas journalists who swarmed the Tongan team about the “Friendly Islands”.

“Someone asked me: What are your products from Tonga?”, she told the audience which was translated into Chinese language by a translator.

“No one makes product like China. So we brought our people”, she said

When the well-known Tongan Olympian Pita Taufatofua arrived at the stage the MC invited visitors to take photos with him.

“I know women from all over the world are crazy about Pita,” Telēsia told the visitors.

“And if you are wondering if all men in Tonga look like him I am sure you will look at the male dancers here they are trying to measure up…with a lot and lot of muscles and coconut oil”.

“Coconut oil is extremely healthy for you and by tradition it is worn by our dancers and performers in occasion like this,” Telēsia said.

Tongan handicrafts made from ngatu and mats were available for sale during the show.

The Tongan team was later joined by the Minister of Tourism Hon Sēmisi Sika and Tonga’s Ambassador to China Tauʻaika ‘Utaʻatu.

The main points

  • The Tongan Master of Ceremonies at the 2016 Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo had an emotional moment.
  • Telesia Afeaki Tonga, one of the key figures with the Tongan tourism promotion team unexpectedly met Tongan publisher Kalafi Moala at the expo.
  • Seeing him reminded her of her father, the late Viliami Afeaki, who was a prominent Tongan Master of Ceremonies widely known in the kingdom for his oratorical skills and fantastic elocution.
  • “Kalafi is my father’s very best friend,” she told visitors.

For more information

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Obituary: Orator who joked with the king is  laid to rest

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