Tonga’s late King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV will return home tomorrow. Upon the arrival of Tupou IV’s body at the Fua…amotu International Airport tomorrow at 3.30 pm Tongans will begin six-days and six-nights of a State Funeral.
Paula Ma…u the Deputy Secretary of the Prime Minister…s office, said this afternoon that they are expecting a Royal New Zealand C130 aircraft to depart Whenuapai Airbase, Auckland, at about 11am tomorrow, September 13, carrying Tupou IV, accompanied by Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho, Princess Pilolevu and other members of the Royal Family.
Paula said that after arriving at the Fua…amotu International Airport there will be a funeral procession to the Royal Palace, Nuku…alofa, where Tupou IV will lie in state for six nights until his burial on Tuesday September 19 at the Royal Tombs, Mala’e Kula.
Government offices open
He said that the logistics and a detailed program of the State Funeral should be ready later today. But in brief Paula said that government ministries will operate normally tomorrow and during the seven days of State Funeral.
He said that at this stage the Government…s decision to remain open and continue working applies to government schools, the Post Office, and other business related bodies of Government, as well as the local business community.
The schools that have usually taken part in the important ceremonies such as lining the streets will do so but those that will not be taking part should continue with their school programs.
…We are just letting everyone go by their own good conscience, and we have basic understandings with the public servants that they are free to attend the various ceremonies of the state funeral, at the same time the Government offices will remain in operation…, said Paula.
During the one-month of state mourning that began in Tonga yesterday, September 11, no loud music is allowed to be played, concerts will have to be cancelled or delayed as well as any other social entertainments such as dancing in bars, and nightclubs also stopped for the duration.
Paula said when the one-month of state mourning ends on October 17 the country will be free to resume its normal activities with all social and entertainment activities back to its usual business.
The traditional six months of mourning that will continue onwards will apply only to the Royal Court, who consist of the Royal family, relatives, nobles of the realm, and the Nima Tapu, said Paula.
Today Tongans wearing black clothing were busy hanging shop fronts and property with black and purple bunting all over the capital. Even the palm trees outside the Treasury were wrapped in black cloth.