Five days after the death of Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva there has still not been a statement or expression of condolence from the palace.
It had been expected that the king would have released a statement through his office by now.
It is understood the king was at ‘Atalanga royal residence in Auckland on Sunday when a memorial service was held at Tuingapapai church in Māngere for Hon. Pōhiva. He left for Tonga last night.
There were also reports of some members of the nobility who were in Auckland during the service but they did not attend it.
Hon. Pōhiva will have a state funeral on Thursday.
His body was flown back to Tonga this afternoon.
A press release issued on Sunday outlining the programme for the funeral services did not show the king or the queen attending any of the services.
Kaniva news was told the information had been released prematurely and that details had not been confirmed.
Although a commoner and a poor man, Hon. Pōhiva had royal connections.
His great grandfather Finau Filimoe’ulie was a half brother of King George Tupou I, known to many as the Father of Modern Tonga.
However, members of the royal family were furious after they found out the king’s mother Taufa Hoamofaleono was pregnant to another chief, Nuku Moimoiangaha, from whom the current Lord Nuku is descended.
Their child was Filimoe’ulie.
Filimoeʻulie grew up in Pōhiva’s village of Fakakakai, but later returned to Vainī in Tongatapu, his motherʻs village, to be appointed as Lord Maʻafu.
A Lord Ma’afu noble had a daughter Tuputupu Vaea, the mother of Queen Nanasipau’u.
This means Pōhiva, Queen Nanasipau’u, Lord Vaea, the current Lord Ma’afu of Vaini and Lord Nuku of Kolonga were cousins.
King Tupou VI and Hon. Pōhiva had a tense relationship in recent years.
Unlike King George V, who was an advocate of democracy, the current monarch has not always shown great courtesy to Hon. Pōhiva’s government.
In August 2017, King Tupou VI dissolved Parliament and called elections for November that year on the basis of a number of concerns about the government expressed by the former Speaker.
Former New Zealand High Commissioner Christine Bogle described the king’s actions as “constitutional, but hardly democratic.”
His Majesty ordered a snap election in November which resulted in Hon. Pōhiva and his party winning 14 seats out of the 17 electoral seats for people’s MPs, a victory that enabled them to form the government on their own.
Following the election there was outrage on social media after the King reportedly did not invite Hon. Pōhiva and his caretaker cabinet ministers to his 2018 New Year reception party.
It is understood Hon. Pōhiva and his ministers had been invited to the King’s party every new year since they took power in 2014 until this incidents.
Kaniva news was told Deputy Prime Minister Semisi Sika was turned away at the palace gates by the royal guards.
However, at the opening of the first Parliament after the election, King Tupou VI expressed his wish to work together with all Members of Parliament.
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As Parliament opens, King declares wish for close working relationship with MPs
Outrage after King did not invite PM Pōhiva and cabinet to His New Year reception party