The Queen and the Prime Minister’s family shared a touching moment, as foreign dignitaries turned out to commemorate the life of Tonga’s First Lady.
Neomai Tu’itupou Pōhiva was laid to rest at Telekava 1 community cemetery in Kolomotu’a, Nuku’alofa this afternoon.
Her funeral service was held at the Free Wesleyan church in Sopu, where she worshipped, this morning.
Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau’u attended the services.
As Kaniva news reported on Monday, the Prime Minister’s 70-year-old wife, who bore him seven children, “died peacefully” after a long battle with cancer.
Following the news of her death, thousands took to Facebook to show their respects for the woman most regarded as the “mother of democrats” in Tonga.
She has been described as “a kind-hearted lady” who always stood by her husband until the end of her life in his long time fight to bring democracy to Tonga.
The late King George V relinquished his executive powers in 2010, allowing an MP elected by the people or nobility to be elected by Parliament and become the Prime Minister for the first time.
In an interview Hon. Pōhiva said more consultation with the privy councillors were needed as the king still held some key powers of the executive roles.
He regarded these powers as being vital for the daily operations of the government which were now no longer within the king’s power.
King George V’s move has been seen by many as the royals’ response to a more than two-decade push led by Hon. Pōhiva to change the feudal political system into democracy.
Some commenters used the well-known English phrase “Behind every great man there’s a great woman” as a tribute to Neomai, referring to her motherly role which contributed to Hon. Pohiva’s political stance.
Yesterday her daughter ‘Ana Koli Fifita revealed Neomai’s favourite hymn.
It was the Free Wesleyan Church hymn 604, the lyrics of which were apparently written by the late Dr James Egan Moulton in the 1890s.
The hymn, ‘Tu ‘Oku Fa’a ‘A’ahi Mai’ has six verses.
Koli said she wanted to quote “her favourite hymn” as a farewell message to her beloved mother.
The funeral services were attended by members of the nobility including the Speaker of Parliament, Lord Fakafanua and Lord Nuku.
Cabinet Ministers and government CEOs also attended, along with many government senior officials.
Foreign diplomats at the services included the Chinese and Japanese Ambassadors and the New Zealand and Australian High Commissioners.
The prayer services were led by the president of the Free Wesleyan Church, Dr Ahio.
The main points
- The Queen and the Prime Minister’s family shared a touching moment, as foreign dignitaries turned out to commemorate the life of Tonga’s First Lady.
- Neomai Tu’itupou Pōhiva was laid to rest at Telekava 1 community cemetery in Kolomotu’a, Nuku’alofa this afternoon.
- Her funeral service was held at the Free Wesleyan church in Sopu, where she worshipped, this morning.
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Tonga’s Prime Minister’s wife Neomai dies