The people of ‘Uiha Island conducted a prayer service and presented gifts at the Royal Palace in Nuku’alofa yesterday as part of Hon Makahokovalu Malupoo’s courtship of Princess Angelika Lātūfuipeka.
Wearing black clothes, as a sign of respect for the royal family which is still mourning the loss of a family member, the ‘Uihans took baked goods, root crops such as yams, plantain and tui kakala (fragrant flowers made into necklaces and sisi – ornamented girdles).
The island of ‘Uiha belongs to Makahokovalu’s father, Lord Maupō.
Yesterday’s occasion was a preliminary event to be followed by the presentation of the cultural Christmas card (known as kaati) to the Princess next Tuesday, December 23.
A reliable source told Kaniva News yesterday’s event also included taking ‘ilo (food to be eaten by the nobles or royals) to Princess Pilolevu.
Princess Pilolevu is Princess Lātūfuipeka’s mehingtanga (paternal aunt – a social status that traditionally can make a final decision in a wedding proposal).
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Next Tuesday Malupoo’s kāinga (relatives and villagers) will present the kaati and there will be another presentation of fine mats, ngatu, pigs, money and food. A māʻuluʻulu dance will also be performed.
Most of the gifts were donated by the people of ‘Uiha. Each ‘Uiha man was told to donate two yam crops for the presentation on Tuesday.
Yams are traditionally regarded as regal crops and are culturally significant, especially the yams classified as kahokaho, which are presented at formal social and cultural activities.
On Wednesday next week the ‘Uihans will present taumafa (food to be eaten by the queen or the king) to the Queen Mother, Her Majesty Queen Halaevalu Mataʻaho. Princess Angelika was named after her grandmother, the queen mother.
Lord Nuku’s eldest son Fakaʻosifono Valevale and his kāinga from Kolonga presented his proposal early this year in February to Princess Angelika.
Hon. Makahokovalu will present his proposal to the Princess in March next year.
According to the kingdom’s constitution, it is up to the king to declare who is going to marry his daughter.
The courtship of the two suitors for the princess’s hand has caused exchanges of friendly teasing between their kāinga on social media, a cultural action that was intentionally made to heighten the honour and the prestige of the suitors.
If this was not done critics would say that the suitors and their supporters were admitting their proposal would be rejected.
The Uihans have been practicing the māʻuluʻulu for a month.
When photos from the dance practices were uploaded the captions combined phrases like ‘tue tue’ (to shout out in exultation) and ‘ tue tue’ ( while the shouter beckon with the hand).
Photos of Hon. Makahokovalu and Fakaʻosifono were also uploaded to Facebook and they quickly stirred discussion and gave their supporters the chance to sing their praises.
However, some of the commentators were warned by the princess’s close family not to overstep the boundaries and say things that might anger the royal family.
Her supporters said the princess could not be compared to her suitors because she was attractive, was the only daughter of the king and had obtained two Masters in Business and Management from the National University of Australia.
The comments were intended to express the princess’s prestige and honour.
The main points
- The people of ‘Uiha Island conducted a prayer service and presented gifts at the Royal Palace in Nuku’alofa yesterday as part of Hon Makahokovalu Malupoo’s courtship of Princess Angelica Lātūfuipeka.
- The ‘Uihans presented baked goods, root crops such as yams and plantain, tui kakala (fragrant flowers made into necklaces) and sisi (ornamented girdles).
- Yesterday’s occasion was a preliminary event to be followed by the presentation of the cultural Christmas card (known as kaati) to the Princess next week.
- The event also included taking ‘ilo (food to be eaten by the nobles or royals) to Princess Pilolevu.