A happy crowd at Halaevalu wharf in Vava’u pushed a locked gate open and some of them swarmed in before a security guard tried unsuccessfully to stop them and lock the gate again.
The guard was seen, in a video uploaded to Facebook, slamming the gate forcefully and reacted angrily to the crowd.
The crowd were vying to get to where the MV ‘Otuanga’ofa was docked and unloaded on Monday.
They wanted to show a special welcome for the delegates and passengers from Tongatapu who had arrived for the Free Wesleyan Church conference by dancing and singing at the wharf.
Hundreds turned up at the wharf to welcome the “Puha ʻo e Fuakava” (Ark of the Covenant) which was brought from Tongatapu to Vavaʻu.
The Vava’u way of māfana (warmth) was seen throughout this week as the islanders were preparing to host the church’s 94th annual conference, His Majesty King Tupou VI’s 58 birthday and the celebration of the Mailefihi Siu’ilikutapu’s 60th anniversary.
The MV ʻOtuangaʻofa was forced to stop in the open sea on its way to Halaevalu so that the Taunga, ‘Otu Mala, Kapa and ‘Utulei islanders could present their hā’unga (baked food given as a welcome) to the conference delegates.
These are some of the surrounding islands of the main island Neiafu where Halaevalu wharf is situated.
The rare sea event means seafood, crops and cooked pigs were presented by passing them over from the small boats into the ferry.