Tongan community online tributes mark former Australian missionary Howard Secomb’s 100th birthday

    Tributes have been pouring in on social media today in celebration of a former Australian missionary to Tonga’s 100th birthday.

    Mr Howard Secomb (L) and wife Janet. Photo/Crosslight Magazine

    Mr Howard Secomb was born on July 20, 1922 and had served in the kingdom in the 1950s.

    The Talanoa ‘O Tonga news webpage had shared a tribute video on Facebook this morning to celebrate the birthday.

    The video clip had since been shared more than 250 times and garnered more than 167 reactions.

    “Happy 100th Birthday Howard Secomb. You did a great job in Tonga. God bless”, a commenter wrote under the clip.

    “Happy Birthday Howard. God bless you and Janet”, another wrote.

    As a Methodist minister Mr Secomb served for 14 years in Tonga, where he was president of the Free Wesleyan Church.

    He was also principal of the Tupou College for boys from 1951 to 1963, reported the Crosslight magazine.

    Mr Secomb’s wife Janet was born in Tonga and is the daughter of revered Methodist minister Dr Alfred Harold Wood, who was the founding principal of Tupou College.

    Janet, 97, is the sister of the former Uniting Church President Rev Dr D’Arcy Wood, who was also born in Tonga and returned to the islands in 2015 to perform the coronation of the current king.

    Howard Secomb was a familiar name to many Tongans today since one of the dormitories at Tupou College was named after him.

    The Secombs returned to Australia at the end of 1963.

    It is believed Mr Secomb was the first Palagi Free Wesleyan church missionary who had served in the kingdom in recent decades to have reached his 100th birthday.

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