US$100,000 “unexpected invoice” for ‘Aho’eitu image shocks government, Chief Secretary says

'Ohovale pule'anga hono 'oatu ha 'inivoisi mei he tangata faiako 'aati 'i he BYU 'o pehē ke totongi mai 'a e US$100,000 hili ia 'ene fokotu'u atu pea tali 'e he 'Eiki Palēmia' ke ne fa'u ha imisi 'o 'Aho'eiki ke tu'u he paaka Popua. Ko 'Aho'eitu oku pehē ko e fuofua tu'i Tonga' ia. Na'e 'ikai tali 'eni ia 'e he pule'anga'. I ai e ni'ihi 'oku ō ki Tonga 'oatu 'enau fokotu'utu'u ki he pule'anga' ko 'enau fie 'aonga pea hili ia toe tohi atu kinautolu 'o 'eke totongi ki he ngaahi fokotu'utu'u ko ia'. Vakai ki he Kaniva' mo e talanoa' ni he fakatoulea'.

An invoice asking the Tongan government to pay US$100,000 for a sculpture of the first Tongan king who is believed to have lived in 950 AD has shocked authorities.

The invoice was sent to Tonga by a person described by Chief Secretary Edgar Cocker as an art lecturer at Brigham Young University in Hawai’i.

The man met Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva in Tonga and there was a discussion about the creation of an image after he told Hon. Pōhiva he admired the Popua National Park development.

The person told Hon. Pōhiva he wanted to construct a bronze sculpture of king ‘Aho’eitu to be installed at the Park so it could reflect the history of Tonga’s kingship and its independence in the era of colonisation.

The Prime Minister agreed with the proposal, Cocker said.  

He said the man returned to Hawai’i and they were shocked when they later received an invoice from him saying the government had to pay US$100,000 if it wanted him to go ahead and create the sculpture.

The Chief Secretary said the man did not reveal that he would charge the government for the image while he was meeting with the Prime Minister.

Cocker also said he queried the man about the invoice and in his response,  he told the government to ignore the invoice as he has found somebody to fund the project.

This is the third time somebody from overseas has visited Tonga, talked with Hon. Pōhiva about their own proposals for the government and then sent invoices asking government to pay for the projects.

The main points

  • An invoice asking the Tongan government to pay US$100,000 for a sculpture of a king who is believed to have lived in 950 AD has shocked authorities.
  • The invoice was sent to Tonga by a person described by Chief Secretary Edgar Cocker as an art lecturer at Brigham Young University in Hawai’i.

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