Tagata Pasifika

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since 1987

Tonga’s Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva passes away

Long-time pro-democracy campaigner Samiuela ʻAkilisi Pōhiva was the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga.

#BREAKING Tonga’s Prime Minister Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva passed away this morning in Auckland. Mr Pohiva, 78, was medevaced to Auckland Hospital yesterday after he had been at Vaiola Hospital in Tongatapu for two weeks with pneumonia.

Kuo malolo ‘a e ‘Eiki Palemia ‘o Tonga ‘Akilisi Pohiva he pongipongi ni ‘i ‘Okalani, Nu’usila.
Ko e tangata’eiki Palemia na’e ta’u 78, pea ne fakafolau (medevaced) mai ki Nu’u Sila mei Tonga ‘aneafi (11/09/2019) hili ‘ene tokoto ‘i he Falemahaki Vaioloa he uike ‘e ua kuo hili, ko e fokoutua niumonia.

New Zealand expresses condolences

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this afternoon extended New Zealand’s condolences to Prime Minister Pohiva’s family and the people of Tonga. Ms Ardern described the Tongan Prime Minister as “an elder statesman of the Pacific and a great friend to New Zealand”.

“He will be remembered for his lifelong commitment to championing democracy. He was also a powerful advocate for Pacific regionalism, demonstrated at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Tuvalu where he advocated for climate change action and regional solidarity.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says Prime Minister Pohiva, who was also Tonga’s Foreign Minister, has made a significant contribution.

“He was always committed to broadening democracy and contributed much of his life to this cause, and for that reason was a stand-out figure in the Pacific. Our thoughts are with the people of Tonga and the extended Pohiva family,” he said.

Tonga’s first democratically elected Prime Minister

In 2015 Tagata Pasifika reporter John Pulu interviewed the long-time pro-democracy campaigner and veteran politican in Tonga. After over 20 years as the leader of the opposition, in 2014 Mr Pohiva became the first elected ‘commoner’ Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga.

Our sincere condolences go out to the Pohiva family during this sad time. Rest in peace.

‘Oatu heni e ‘ofa mo e lotu mei he kau ngaue ‘a e polokalama televisone Tagata Pasifika ki he famili ‘o e pekia lolotonga ‘a e taimi fakamamahi ko eni.
Toka ā ‘i he nonga ‘a e ‘Eiki.

We’ll have more from the Tongan community on Tagata Pasifika this Saturday 14 September, 9.30am on TVNZ 1.

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