Maintaining tradition kept family happy as Virginia Aleamotu’a reflects on her arranged marriage

Hon. Halaevalu Moheofo has told a television crew last week she would never have married anybody her parents did not approve of.

Lopeti Tuita and Hon Virginia Tuita Aleamotu’a

Hon. Lupeolo Halaevalu Moheofo Virginia Rose Tuita and Hon. Lopeti Aleamotuʻa were married at the Free Wesleyan Church in Tuingapapai, Auckland.

Hon. Mohoefo said she always saw herself as remaining single and looking after her parents, Princess Pilolevu and Lord Tuita.

However, her parents looked for a suitable husband for her because they wanted her to have companionship.

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She said maintaining Tongan tradition had kept her family happy.

Hon. Mohoefo’s support for Tongan tradition follows upheavals in her older sisters’ marriages. It also raised questions then, as now, about whether members of the upper classes should be expected to marry to suit their parents, marry for love or have the luxury of not marrying if they don’t want to.

Her older sister Hon. Sālote Lupepau’u Tuita divorced Lord Fusitu’a, which was an arranged marriage.

Princess Pilolevu had a much publicised relationship with Auckland detective Josh Liava’a, who had previously eloped with Hon. Mele Siu’ilikutapu who at the time was 13th in line for the Tongan throne.

Liava’a leaked letters Princess Pilolevu had written to him, in one of which she wrote: “I was brought up not to fall in love, so that when the time came for my marriage to be arranged, the idea of it would not be distasteful to me.”

Hon. Moheofo’s another older sister, Hon.  Frederica Tuita, 10th in line to the throne, married Auckland-based Johnny Filipe, who was described as the son of a businessman.

Hon. Salote Lupepau’u Tuita, sixth in line to the throne, caused consternation with news that she was to marry former Tonga rugby representative Epeli Taione.

As Kaniva News reported at the time, the news provoked a strong reaction in Tonga because of the breaches of royal protocol and the rules surrounding marriage.

Arranged marriages have occurred among commoners, but with  nothing like the formal royal processes.

In her television interview Hon. Moheoefo said marriages were arranged for the good of families.

She said wedding protocol remained strict and said that anybody who failed to follow it would be slapped on the hand.

She acknowledged that she had been under pressure to have children as soon as possible.

“The wedding was more than I expected, seeing everybody so happy,” she said.

“This is the start of the biggest chapter of my life”

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