Former Tongan deputy principal laid to rest: ‘No doubt we will feel the loss’, says Auckland’s McAuley HS tribute

     The body of a beloved Tongan teacher who taught at McAuley High School in Ōtāhuhu, Auckland was laid to rest at Manukau Memorial Gardens yesterday December 11.

    Soane Malia Kauhalaniua (R) and wife Soana. Photo/Supplied

    Soane Malia Kauhalaniua, 49, died after being recently diagnosed with lung cancer.

    He was described as “very active” and “one of the fathers of the school”. He had previously taught at ‘Apifo’ou College in Tonga and became the school’s deputy principal.

    “It is with great sadness that our school whānau announces that our dear friend, brother, teacher and colleague, Soane Malia Kauhalaniua, has gone to God yesterday morning after a short battle with lung cancer,” says a tribute by the McAuley High School which was posted to Facebook shortly after Kauhalaniua’s death.

    Kauhalaniua arrived in Auckland with his family before teaching at the school. He  headed the accounting department over the last few years.

    “Some notable highlights over the last couple of years include Soane composing our most recent tau’olunga for the Tongan group in 2020; preparing our students, together with his wife Mrs Soana Kauhalaniua, to take their sacraments this year; and the passionate lectures he would give to his classes and the Tongan students about living out our faith and cultural values at school and making the most of every opportunity McAuley had to offer them”, the school said in its tribute.

    “Soane embodied Tongan values in his everyday life. He lived a life of service, not only in our McAuley community but also in the Catholic community in Tonga and at his parish of St Luke’s, Flat Bush.

    There is no doubt we will feel the loss of Soane, a man who gladly shared his gifts and talents with us, often rocking a tupenu and boat shoes, accompanied by his guitar”.

    Kauhalaniua is survived by his wife Soana and their two daughters and a grandson.

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