15 September 2019
Brisbane, AUSTRALIA: Tongan culture and flare were on full display this weekend as Her Royal Highness Princess Lātūfuipeka Halaevalu Mata‘aho Tuku‘aho attended a busy weekend of events with the Brisbane Tongan Community.
Centred around the Mamana Tongan Academy of Performing Arts, Her Royal Highness, who is the esteemed High Commissioner of the Kingdom of Tonga to Australia with residency in Canberra, never missed a beat, commencing the visit with an exclusive VIP dinner at the Skyline Room of the Calamvale Hotel for the close family and associates of the Mamana Tongan Academy of Performing Arts.
An early start to Saturday morning featured a combined Tongan community exercise and zumba session led by Gold Coast Tongan Personal Trainer Lino Hola from EMF Fitness Club at Surfers Paradise.
The key event of the weekend was the Spirit of Mamana – Pō Faiva Cultural Night held at the Unidus Community Centre in Willawong. Her Royal Highness was serenaded by a selection of Brisbane Kava Clubs before the stage erupted into a vibrant array of traditional Tongan dances and songs, performed by Tongan youth from the Tongan Academy of Performing Arts, most of whom were born and raised outside of the Kingdom of Tonga.
Guests included the reigning Miss Heilala 2019-2020, Yehenara Soukop as well as Miss Fe‘unu Koula Tau‘olunga Senior from New Zealand, Miss Melenaite Fifita.
Due to a medical emergency, the showcase was sadly cut short.
With the sad passing of the Prime Minister of Tonga on Thursday, 12 September 2019, the late Samuela ‘Akilisi Pōhiva, Her Royal Highness was Guest of Honour, when the Brisbane Tongan Community Inc. (BTC) held a combined Tongan Community church service entitled the “Spirit of Unity – Pō Fakafeta‘i”, drawing together Tongan youth groups, gospel singers, choirs, worship teams and churches from a diverse range of Brisbane Tongan church denominations.
Held at the Life&Legacy Church Centre in Hillcrest, Her Royal Highness was surrounded by a sea of black as many of the community adorned mourning attire for the occasion.
President of the Brisbane Tongan Community, Rev Sione Maile Molitika, told BTC Media that any opportunity to unite our community to worship God was a huge honour, especially in the presence of a Senior Member of the Tongan Royal Family.
“Her Royal Highness is a unifying factor who has the ability to bring our communities together and is also a custodian of Tongan culture and we were so blessed that the Princess would visit the Sunshine State to spend time with her people, especially after the sad loss of the Honourable Prime Minister,” Rev Maile Molitika added.
The Royal Party included a delegation of staff from the Tonga High Commission in Canberra who provided consular services over the weekend to the growing Brisbane Tongan Community, including Re-admission ceremonies and passport renewals.
The Brisbane Tongan Community consists of well over 6,000 Tongans, in addition to migration from first and second generation migrants from New Zealand and inter-state, including the surrounding areas of the Gold Coast, Logan, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich and Moretan Bay.
Media Contact: Sulieni Layt via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile on +61(0) 0420 639 764.