Great grandchildren of 15 siblings meet to revive Tu’ivailala blood relationship

The grandchildren of the late Sione Lātū Tu’ivailala of Matamaka, Vava’u met in a joyous celebration in Houma, Tongatapu today to revive their blood relationship for the first time.

Most of them found this an opportunity to meet each other. After their parents married they moved to different places and the grandchildren were far away from each other.

One family member who worked as Senior Revenue Officer in the Tongan Custom Department sat in the kava circle this morning during the gathering and was surprised to meet some of his friends who worked in a broker’s service who they regularly met to process brokerage papers.

“I was surprised to become aware for the first time we are family,” Paulo Lātū said of these friends whose mother, Fane Tu’ivailala was a first cousin of his mother, late ‘Elisiva Tu’ivailala Lātū.

‘Elisiva’s father was the late Falekasa Tu’ivailala and Fane’s father was the late Kite Tu’ivailala. Kite and Falekasa were two of Sione’s 15 children.

Sione married the late Silipa Tu’ivailala.

All the siblings were survived by Kelepi Falekihefohe Tu’ivailala.

Kelepi, 87, who is also known as Visa, was honoured by the family today as chairman of the reunion.

Today’s family function, which was held at the Mailo Kava Club from 9am until about 4pm, was full of memory and jubilation.

Migration

Sione grew up in the island of Matamaka in Vava’u, but most of his children moved to mainland Tongatapu and settled in Houma, Malapo and Haveluloto.

It appeared his siblings kept in touch after they arrived in Tongatapu, but when they died there was lack of communication between his grandchildren and great grand children.

Most of the speakers today were thankful that the reunion had been initiated to bring together their children so they knew each other.

The family reunion’s president, Halatoa Tāufa, who is also a Police Inspector in Tonga described the history of the island of Matamaka.

“Anyone who grew up in Matamaka, some of the things they did was watching the rock,” he said.

(Mata is Tongan for watching and maka is Tongan for rocks)

Other Tu’ivailala reunions

Tu’ivailala clans in New Zealand have been holding family reunions since 2012. They began with a Facebook page entitled Makapuna ‘o Siosafate mo Sesilia Tu’ivailala ‘o Matamaka.

It was followed  by reunions for the Tu’ivailala families in Australia and the United States.

The New Zealand reunion passed a resolution during its 2017 Reunion in November for all members to travel to Matamaka in 2019.

Some family members have not been to the island since they were born.

Sione’s children

1 – ‘Akesa Vaipulu Tu’ivailala Liukeina

2 – Siaosi Fifita Tu’ivailala

3 – Halalele Tu’ivailala

4 – Kitekeiaho Tu’ivailala

5 – Lupe Heamapa Tu’ivailala

6 – Sione Havea Toa Tu’ivailala a.k.a Falekasa

7 – Seini Piula Tu’ivailala

8 – Paula Langi Tu’ivailala

9 – ‘Ana Lolohea Tu’ivailala Tupou

10 – Kelela Tu’ivailala

11 – Mele Mata Tu’ivailala Tupou

12 – Kelepi Fale-Ki he-Fohe  Tu’ivailala a.k.a Visa

13 – Letio-i-vaikeli Tu’ivailala Taufa

14 – Fokikovi-Ki-Fakanoaloto Tu’ivailala

15 – Taniela Kanakana-e-Langi Tu’ivailala a.k.a Kuma

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