Revisited: this article was published in Tongan Language by Kaniva Tonga Online in September 2012
Souls were highly warmed last Saturday 20th of September as Hundreds of Tongan gathered at the Tatai Hono Marae in Newton, Auckland to mark the heroic achievment of Valerie Adams in the London Olympics 2012 after her rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk was stripped of the medal for twice testing positive for steroids.
During the ceremony it was evident how happy Valerie was as she greeted family members gathered together up on the stage . She was excited to see a well prepared table of rich Tongan foods surrounded by her immediate families and friends.
“My families are fantastic and I am so proud of them,” she told Kaniva Tonga News.
The spirit of the Tongan vela māfana was seen in everyoneʻs face, as she acknowledged with thanks the speeches of support from her various kainga especially those from outer island of Niuafoʻou in Tonga who joined in with their donation of foods and money.
Specially prepared meals were freely provided to everyone from the wider communities that gathered in the crowded hall.
Live Tongan music from the DJ absolutely touched the hearts and souls of the kainga as people rocked and rolled and shouted out exuberantly on the dance floor.
It was a day of vale’iatama as the DJ played the Tongan Hiva Kakala the women danced along to the beat, but sang their own version and lyrics adding on extra malie and emotion to this special celebration.
The successful shot-putter proudly stood up from her seat and danced to the music and invited her cousins and kainga to join her on the dance floor.
Hailed from the village of Houma, Tongatapu in Tonga, Valerie Kasanita Adams families and kainga met each other in a very emotional but joyful occasion to celebrate their fanautama who is now a three-time world champion. The village of Houma in Tonga where Val’s mum hailed from is nicknamed as Kaikumā meaning rat eaters.
A well-known song to the villagers titled Kaikuma ʻo e Fungamahufa (the rat eaters of the Fungamahufa) has been composed to portray the mighty and courage of their great Chief Vaea in the past when he bit a rat into halves while he was having a Kava circle with his men and he threw the two bits into the midst. This song was repeatedly played in the ceremony and it had obviously driven everyone crazy as they spontaneously left their tables and moved to the middle of the dance floor where they crowded around each other and danced like warriors.
Wearing Tongan formal attire which included a tupenu, kahoa and a taʻovala, Ms Adams frequently stepped down off the platform and joined her kainga in the dance floor receiving money offered to her in the form of fakapale (where the dollar notes are stuck to her body as an acknowledgement and reward for her outstanding efforts).
Once at the dance floor she was mobbed by the dancers eagerly gesturing the camera people to take photos of them selves with Valerie.
Valerie’s mum, Lilika Ngauamo is full Tongan and his dad, Sydney Adams is an English – New Zealander.