Bad luck fears mount amid debates on MPs’ controversial Mate Ma‘a attendance

A caller to a radio station in South Auckland said he was concerned that the heated debates about a parliamentary delegation paid from taxpayers money to attend the Mate Ma’a Tonga match might bring bad luck to the team this Saturday.

Mate Ma’a Tonga will face the Kangaroos at the Mt Smart Stadium.

The concern was based on Tongan cultural belief of faka’ilonga kovi or ill omen.

The caller, who identfied himself only as Pakiua, told Radio 531 PI’s talkback show on last night’s Tongan programme the news should not have been made public.

He told the host the Mate Ma’a Tonga fans had been angered by the news and it would bring the team bad luck.

Callers to the programme had mixed views about the proposed visit by MPs. Some said all Parliamentarians should attend the match.

Others said they should have paid for their own expenses.

One caller, who indentifed himself as Peni, said the news should have been made public only to Tongans in Tonga.

He said he felt angry when he heard a caller support the MPs’ travel and said the money in the Parliament’s budget was not people’s money. It was just Parliament’s money.

That caller was corrected by the host, who told him the Parliament’s budget was indeed people’s money as it was collected from taxes paid by the people.

While the issue was discussed on the show, callers were also allowed to send their tributes to the Mate Ma’a Tonga match.

The supports for the team has been huge.

Callers even sent religious tributes and words from Tongan riddles to show their support for the team.

As Kaniva news reported, a six-strong Parliamentary delegation has been confirmed to attend the match between the Mate Ma’a Tonga and Kangaroos, with more MPs to be confirmed later.

The Chief Clerk reportedly said it would cost Parliament around TP$45,000 to send the six people delegation, including the Speaker Lord Fakafanua.

However, she said the final figure had yet to be finalised because MPs who were currently overseas had yet to confirm if they would join the delegation in Auckland.

The response from Parliament came after Kaniva news revealed 14 MPs including Parliamentary staff would attend the match at around $80,000 costs, a reduction from an initial figure of $200,000 for a planned 26-member delegation.

Our story has been widely reported in New Zealand and Pacific media.

Traditionally, in every sport in Tonga, there is a time when supporters and the team have to get together for a conference and reconcile afew days before the match.

They have to speak out and reveal any matters that may have affected their relationship during the week. It was believed that doing so would give them a clean conscience and that it would bring a good result for the team in their coming match.

If they did not do this and supporters or some of the team players had not been reconciled the match would be unsuccessful.

The main points

  • A caller to a radio station in South Auckland said he was concerned that the heated debates about a parliamentary delegation paid from taxpayers money to attend the Mate Ma’a Tonga match might bring bad luck to the team this Saturday.
  • The concern was based on Tongan cultural belief of faka’ilonga kovi or ill omen.

For more information

Criticism over taxpayer funding for MPs’ trip to Mate Ma’a Tonga match

Parl’t protocol in question after Members’ travel at taxpayers’ expense revealed

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