INDEPENDENT NEWS

Peters expresses sadness at death of Tongan King

Published: Mon 11 Sep 2006 09:26 AM
Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs
11 September 2006
Media statement
Peters expresses sadness at death of Tongan King
Foreign Minister Winston Peters today expressed his sadness and regret at the passing of the Tongan King, Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, who died just before midnight yesterday, aged 88 years.
"His Majesty had been ill for some time, and his death, coming so soon after the tragic accidental death of his nephew Prince Tu’ipelehake, represents yet another significant loss for the people of Tonga," Mr Peters said.
"King Tupou IV was one of the region’s great leaders, commanding the respect and loyalty of his people. He will be missed throughout the Pacific and beyond.
"Tonga and New Zealand have been close, friendly neighbours for many years.
"During King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV’s reign, the relationship broadened beyond shared cultural links, as we cooperated across a range of mutual interests and in a variety of organisations like the Pacific Islands Forum. We hope this very valuable partnership will continue.
"Many New Zealanders, including the community of more than 40,000 Tongans living and working in New Zealand, will mourn His Majesty’s passing," Mr Peters said.
Details of the State Funeral for King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, which will be held in Nuku’alofa, will be confirmed later this week.
ENDS

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