Congressman Faleomavaega Eni today expressed his deepest condolences on the passing away of His Majesty King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga, and at the same time offered his well wishes to the newly sworn king, His Royal Highness Prince George Tupou, for assuming his rightful heir and place as King George Tupou V, after his father.
In a letter to King George Tupou V, Faleomavaega said:
“It is with deep regret and great sorrow that I write to express my sincere condolences in the darkest of times now faced by the people and the Kingdom of Tonga in the sorrowful passing away of His Majesty King Taufa’ahau Tupuou IV. His Majesty King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV was such a dynamic monarch and political leader not only in Tonga but the Pacific during his reign, and his absence can only be filled with the benevolence of God in time.”
“May I also express my congratulations and well wishes to Your Majesty in taking the oath as the new Sovereign and assuming your rightful place as His Majesty King George Tupou V,” the Congressman continued.
“I was informed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tonga, the Hon. Tu’a Taumoepeau Tupou, of the taking of the oath by His Royal Highness Prince George Tupou yesterday, and may his majesty’s assumption of the throne enlightens the pain faced by the government and people of Tonga in this altogether sad time,” Faleomavaega said in a separate statement.
“His late Majesty King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV forged the foundation of modern politics in Tonga while at the same time retained the essence of traditional monarchy on his people he so dearly loved, and his wisdom and passion for what he believed in made him well respected throughout the Pacific region,” Faleomavaega wrote the new monarch.
“He was a devout Christian, a highly religious and firm believer in God. He envisioned the essence of spiritual and mental knowledge and intelligence at an early age, and he became an educator, a talented musician, a great athlete, and a very humble and traditional monarch who was highly proud of being Tongan and Polynesian. All of these elements he valued so highly that he emphasized and passed them on to his people. Many Tongans throughout the region and around the world can be distinctly recognized through these values,” the Congressman continued.
“On a personal note, King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV had always been one of my mentors, and I have always considered him as one of the fathers of the Tonga-Samoa-Pacific family. His intellectual versatility was one of his main characteristics I will always treasure, and in the often-times I was blessed to share and fortunate enough to have spent with him, he made me see new dimensions in leadership, politics and personal values I never would have had if it had not been for his wisdom. After all, how can one forget someone who gave him his first lessons in playing the balalaika?” Faleomavaega reiterated.
“I was very fortunate to have had the father-son relationship with His late Majesty, and he gave me my first lessons in playing the traditional Russian musical instrument – balalaika – of which he was a master. He also made me aware of the concept of political navigation for the Pacific islands,” Faleomavaega recalled.
“In his soft yet deep voice, he often said to me: ‘Eni, think of it as steering a ship through sometimes treacherous waters. Uncharted changes will always be ahead, and you must always take note that your ship will not be broadsided. Our ancestors looked and trusted the stars for navigation, I say you look and place your trust in God, and your journey will always be blessed,’” the Congressman said in a press statement with emotions.
“I always look forward to seeing King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV every chance I get, and I had hopes of meeting him again to re-establish our communications and friendship among other matters – but now this most mournful moment has befallen, and I am without words to express my deep sense of sorrow to Your Majesty the King, and the family. I pray that God will grant comfort to you, Her Majesty Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho, and to all the good people of Tonga. Please be assured of my continued respect and esteem,” Faleomavaega concluded.
The Congressman, who also can communicate in Tongan, opened his condolence letter to King George Tupou V in Tongan by saying: “Koe fakatapu e kuo aofaki he 'Otu Tonga tuku mu'a keu lave atu ai moau mei he funga maka ko Amerika Samoa.” (I am sure that the cultural and traditional waves of salutations have now blanketed the shores of the islands of Tonga. With humility, I ask to be included from Amerika Samoa). “Tau maia na'e malava he'e tu'unga fakasiokalafi 'oe mamani kae a'u tonu atu e popoaki fiekaungamamahini.” (I can only wish that the geography of the world would have it so the roads were connected and I can deliver my condolences in person). “Teu tangi ki he ngalu'ea 'o Tutuila mo Manu'a ke fakaa'u atu 'eku 'ofa lahi moe fiekaunga mamahi moe 'Afiona he po'uli lolo kuo toka ho'o 'Otu Motu Anga'ofa.” (But I have called on the tradewinds of Tutuila and Manu'a to deliver my kindest regards and willingness of heart, to share your burden during this pitch-dark period that is overwhelming Your Majesty, Your House and the Friendly Islands of Tonga).