I read an article in the Matangi Tonga Online of 27 May 2004, and was overwhelmed and proud to be Tongan but also because my mother's family comes from Hihifo-Pangai, Haapai when I read about the heroic efforts of the people of Pangai, going to the rescue the 450 passengers stranded at Hakauloa Reef on the ferry MV Pulupaki in the early hours of 26 May 2004.
These people deserve the highest civilian honours, medals of bravery and valor for serving the Tongan flag and going into danger without fear, favour or concern for their personal safety.
I was also overwhelmed by the respect and dedication of the passengers, their families, the children and little babies, the tourists and overseas visitors and the ship's crew for their selflessness and commitment to others with them.
I salute all the people involved in the rescue effort that morning, you've done yourselves Ha'apai and Tonga proud.
God Bless them all. I dedicate this letter to my great grandfather Tevita Mafi Tupou.
Andrew Fifita J.P