The Tongan Member of Parliament in New Zealand MP Jenny Lātū Salesa broke down in tears while a Tongan honour was performed for her in South Auckland on Friday.
The honour is known in Tongan as Kava Mo e Hā’unga or Kava or Hā’unga, one of the highest honours given to a person who has succeeded in a profession.
It was performed for her by the Stutton Park School in Māngere.
The honour was a combination of presenting a kava plant and a puaka toho (big hog) as well as speeches made by two matāpules (heralds).
MP Salesa said she had not been given such an honour since she was elected as an MP and made a Cabinet Minister.
She said when the school children performed the kava and presented her hā’unga she could not compose her emotions and she broke down in tears.
MP Salesa said she admired the opportunity in Aotearoa for Tongans to perform and present their own cultural activities.
MP Salesa’s honour was presented as part of the Tongan Language Week at the Stutton Park school.
She said Tongans in New Zealand should support the language week because it was an important way to preserve and sustain the Tongan culture.
She was also marveled at the large number of Tongan students who attended Stutton.
She said she was told by the principal that more than 50 percent of the students at Stutton were Tongans.
She said the topic of this year’s Tongan Language Week was “’Oku fakakoloa ‘e he Tonga’ ‘a ‘Aotealoa ‘aki ‘a e ‘Ofa Fonua.”
“Tongans enhance Aotearoa with Love of Nation”
She said she loved two countries, New Zealand and Tonga.
She said she valued and appreciated the wearing of the Tongan formal attire and the performance of various cultural activities such as tau’olunga last week because the children learned better when they performed them.
MP Salesa told Kaniva News the number of Tongans in New Zealand was increasing and the support given to Tongan Language Week should be encouraged.