new king named
's new monarch has been formally proclaimed
as King Tupou VI.
automatically succeeded to the throne when his brother King George Tupou V
declaration of a new king came in a notice from Cabinet Secretary Busby
it has pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy His Late Majesty King
George Tupou V by who decease the Crown of the
devolves upon Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka," it began.
the members of the Privy Council it concluded: "do now hereby, with one
full voice and consent of tongue and heart, publish and proclaim that Crown
Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka has now become the only lawful and rightful heir to
the throne, King of the Kingdom of Tonga, to whom we do acknowledge all
faith and constant obedience with all hearty and humble affection,
beseeching God by Whom Kings and Queen do reign, to bless His Majesty, King
Tupou VI, with long and happy years to reign over us."
king himself will decided his Christian name, although he was born 'Aho'eitu
is a strong possibility that he will be known as George or Siosi.
became a chiefly name thanks to James Cook in the 18th century. Throughout
his travels in the South Pacific Cook referred to the
, all named George.
late king's body will arrive in
on Monday aboard a Chinese chartered aircraft.
body is accompanied by the Chiefly Undertaker Matapule along with several
lords, Ma'afu and Fakafunua.
body will lie in state for two days ahead of a funeral on Wednesday.
new king opposed democracy
new king is an anti-democrat who as an appointed prime minister took the
kingdom of 100,000 people to near economic disaster.
new 47-year-old king, currently known as ‘Ulukalala Lavaka Ata ahead of
taking on a yet unannounced monarch’s title, late last year tried to lead a
bid to bring government back under the control of Tonga’s royals and nobles.
that he is king, Tonga’s future depends on whether he still wants to reign
the marginal democratic progress already made.
takes the throne from King George Tupou V who died on Sunday in Hong Kong.
former naval officer, Lavaka Ata, known for his austere conservatism and his
intense commitment to the Wesleyan Church, where he is a lay preacher and
which is the official church of the kingdom. Paradoxically he made US$2
million up front from renting his royal land to the Mormon Church for a
college, and collecting US$90,000 a year in rent from it.
youngest son of the late King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, Lavaka Ata was never
expected to be king but his older brother failed to produce heirs. The second
son was stripped of his title for marrying a commoner and his sister, Princess
Royal Pilolevu Tuita cannot become queen ahead of a surviving brother.
Tonga’s absolute monarchy, the king appointed the cabinet for life terms,
Ata served briefly in the small Tongan Navy before being named defence and
2000 the king caused a surprise by naming Lavaka Ata as prime minister, rather
than the man who was until Sunday the king, Crown Prince Tupuoto’a.
premier, Lavaka Ata, pushed through the creation of Royal Tongan Airlines,
using a chartered Boeing 757. It lasted less than three years and collapsed
with debts of around US$9 million.
2005 Tonga’s 3000 public servants went on a three week strike with protests
directly aimed at the royal family.
Ata eventually yielded to their demands and announced wage increases that
reached 80 percent of some. It turned out to be economically ruinous.
2006 he suddenly resigned without explanation, although days before he claimed
members of cabinet, including Police Minister Clive Edwards, had been
preparing a coup. The ministers denied any such thing.
partial explanation came with Wikileaks release of US diplomatic cables. The
US Ambassador to Tonga, Suva based Larry Dinger met Crown Prince Tupuoto’a,
shortly before he would become king.
as Prince Regent, and apparently without clearance from the King, convinced
his younger brother Prince Lavaka Ata to resign as PM…,” the cable said.
noted … that Lavaka Ata had been ‘the wrong person in charge’ when a
public-service strike fanned flames of dissent and resulted in a settlement
that has strained the government budget.
Ata had been frustrated as PM and may not have required too much pushing.”
asked the late king what future roles Lavaka Ata might perform: “Tupouto'a
said his brother is ‘set for life’ with a lease the Mormon Church recently
negotiated to retain its high-school venue at an up-front fee of $2 million
plus $90,000/year for the next ten years.”
Ata’s most recent public role as Tonga’s high commissioner to Australia.
his brother the king renounced absolute monarchy, Tonga held its first
democratic elections in November 2010 with 17 of the 26 seats voted for by
the surprise of many, Lavaka Ata announced he would run for parliament in nine
noble seats. He made no secret that he was opposed to democracy.
the event he did not run and while no public announcement was made, it was
widely believed in Tonga that the late king had talked him out of running.
it is, the nobles won control over the divided commoners and the current Prime
Minister, Lord Siale'ataonga Tu'ivakano, is closely aligned to Lavaka Ata.
real alarm over the new king will be the scale of Tonga’s debt, mainly to
China, and missing millions of dollars borrowed to fund the reconstruction of
the capital in the wake of the 2006 Nuku’alofa riots.
International Monetary Fund has repeatedly warned Tonga it is "at high
risk of 'debt distress'."
the financial worry will the overwhelming desire by the Tongan Government to
stage a major funeral for King George.
there are also mounting pressures on the Treasury to fund the May wedding of
Lavaka Ata’s son to his cousin.
27-year-old Siaosi Tuku'aho is now heir to the throne and he plans to marry
25-year-old Sinaitakala Fakafanua.
could also be a severe case of sibling rivalry in the now inevitable
brother spent over T$5 million (NZ$3 million) in his lavish and colourful
coronation, complete with special robes and gowns, and Lavaka Ata will resist
any calls for restraint in his.