Topic: Pacific Affairs

Tongan Queen Mother remembered for bringing people together

By Kawekōrero Reporters

Video above of interview with John Pulu from Tagata Pasifika.

Image of  funeral service for Tongan Queen Mother Halaevalu Mata'aho. Credit: John Pulu, Tagata Pasifika.

Tonga declared a public holiday yesterday so the nation could farewell their beloved Queen Mother Halaevalu Mata’aho as she was laid to rest.

The Queen Mother was 90-years-old and died in Auckland last Sunday.

King Tūheitia and Makau Ariki Atawhai were among the many dignitaries who paid tribute at the service.

Tagata Pasifika reporter John Pulu spoke to Kawe Kōrero Reporters from Tonga and said rows of purple and black cloth lined the fences of local homes as a sign of respect for the Queen Mother.

Pulu said she will be remembered for bringing people together and for the kindness and care she gave to her people.

“When Cyclone Ian, a few years ago, hit Ha’apai [in Tonga] the Queen Mother went on a boat to the outer island Ha’apai with you know food and you know refreshments for the people that were affected by the cyclones.”

“For a leader to go out and provide to her people, that’s what I call service.”