Song commemorates those who died when tsunami struck Niuatoputapu in 2009

    A song by Tongan poet Nataniele Tuʻisila Sēlui to remember the tsunami that killed nine people in 2009 is now available online.

    The tsunami struck on September 30 that year and caused major damage to the island of Niuatoputapu.

    The song, ‘Hiva ʻo e Peaukula,’ was recorded in 2013 by the ʻUtufekituʻa String Band.

    It was posted to Facebook yesterday (September 30) at 6.50am with the person who posted it saying this was the time the tsunami struck the island.

    It begins with a fakatapu – an expression used at the beginning of Tongan songs usually made by the punake (poet) asking permission from those who may have families who died in the disaster to talk about what happened that day.

    The poet referred to how the day was clear and obviously no one expected that Mother Nature would turn violently against the island.

    The song lamented the dead and how the tragic marks left by the tsunami on the beaches and inland.

    The poet also mentioned how the islanders reacted helplessly when the tsunami hit. The song says the most emotional event was when people had to run up the mountain, with many carrying children and old people, while screaming and shouting to others.

    Some were able to make the climb before the big waves caught them, but it was unfortunate that those who died could not make it, the song said.

    The poet also recounted some important places on the island where the waves swept inland. He said these places had been engraved in the memory of the island to the end of time.

    The Niuatoputapu Facebook page, which has more than 1700 members, has remembered the day and shared a tribute.

    It said this was the day in 2009 the huge waves destroyed some of the significant properties of the island which was a great loss to all Niuans.

    The message called on all Niuans to pray for the souls of those who died during the tragedy.

    Before the tsunami hit local radio stations in Tonga broadcast warnings that a tsunami was possible and that people should move away from coastal villages.

    However, police said many locals claimed there would be no big waves and did not move inland.

    The tsunami also caused substantial damage and major loss of life in Samoa, where more than 180 people died in Pagopago and Apia.

    The main points

    • A song by Tongan poet Nataniela Tuinisi Selui to remember the tsunami that killed nine people in 2009 is now available online.
    • The tsunami struck on September 30 that year and caused major damage to the island of Niuatoputapu.
    • The song, ‘Hiva ʻo e Peaukula,’ was recorded in 2013 by the ʻUtufekituʻa String Band.
    • It laments the dead and the tragic marks left by the tsunami on the beaches and inland.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo ‘i ai ‘eni ha foʻi taʻanga ne faʻu ʻe he punake ko Nataniele Tuʻisila Sēlui, ko hano fakamanatu ʻo e peau kula ne hake ʻo ne fakapoongi ha toko hiva ʻi he 2009, kuo ʻatā ke fanongoa ʻi he ʻinitanetí.

      Ne hake ʻa e sunamí ni ʻi he ʻaho 30 ʻo Sepitema 30 ʻo ne maumauʻi lahi ʻa e motu ko ia ko Niuatoputapu.

      ʻOku ʻiloaʻaki pe taʻangá ni ko e Hiva ʻo e Peaukulá pea ne hiki ia ʻi he 2013 ʻe he kau tāmeʻa papa ko e ʻUtufekituʻá.

      Ne lava ʻaneafi ʻaho Mōnite ko hono 30 Sepitema 2015 ʻa e taʻu ʻe ono e tō ʻa e fakaevahá ni.

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