Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tupou VI

Tupou VI (full name: ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho; born 12 July 1959) is the King of Tonga. He is the younger brother and successor of the late King George Tupou V. He was officially confirmed by his brother on 27 September 2006 as the heir presumptive to the Tongan throne, as his brother (a bachelor) had no legitimate children. He also served as Tonga's High Commissioner to Australia, and resided in Canberra until the death of King George Tupou V on 18 March 2012, when ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho became King of Tonga, with the regnal name Tupou VI.

He was born the third son and youngest child of King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV. He started his career in the military, joining the naval arm of the Tonga Defence Services in 1982 and becoming a Lieutenant-Commander in 1987. From 1990 to 1995 he commanded the Pacific-class patrol boat VOEA Pangai and his time in charge included peacekeeping operations in Bougainville.

In 1998 he ended his military career to become part of the government, first as the defence minister and the foreign minister at the same time, from October 1998 until August 2004. He took over these posts from his elder brother Siaosi Tupou V, at that time still the crown prince and as such known as Tupoutoʻa (see below). Soon he was appointed as Prime Minister on 3 January 2000, a function he kept until his sudden resignation on 11 February 2006, for which the reason has never become clear, but was most likely due to the unrest in the country since mid-2005, a series of pro-democracy protests calling for a lesser role for the royal family in government. His appointed successor, Feleti Sevele, was Tonga's first prime minister who was not a hereditary estate holder or a member of the aristocracy (made of 33 noble titles).

ʻAhoʻeitu is married to a daughter of the high chief Vaea, Nanasipauʻu and the couple has 3 children:

    * ʻAngelika Lātūfuipeka Halaʻevalu Mataʻaho Napuaʻokalani Tukuʻaho
    * Siaosi Manumataongo ʻAlaivahamamaʻo ʻAhoʻeitu Konstantin Tukuʻaho
    * Viliami ʻUnuaki-ʻo-Tonga Mumui Lalaka-Mo-e-ʻEiki Tukuʻaho

In January 2012, Prince Siaosi, known as Prince ‘Ulukalala, announced his engagement to the Sinaitakala Fakafanua.

Name and Titles
It is customary in Tongan culture that princes get a traditional chiefly title, by which they then are commonly known (and no longer by their baptised name). As such for many years, until his confirmation as heir presumptive, ʻAhoʻeitu was known by either one or all three of the titles which were bestowed on him over the time: Lavaka from Pea, Ata from Kolovai and ʻAtatā, and ʻUlukālala from Vavaʻu. These titles may be used in any order, (the one belonging to the area from which the speaker is coming usually first). Nevertheless the sequences Lavaka Ata ʻUlukālala and ʻUlukālala Lavaka Ata were most common.

Since his confirmation as heir presumptive, he got the traditional title of Tupoutoʻa, reserved for crown princes, which his older brother (the second) had to give up because he married a commoner, while two of his previous titles went to his sons. As such he is currently known as Tupoutoʻa Lavaka. His oldest son, Siaosi, is to be addressed by the prestigious title of ʻUlukālala, while his second son, Viliami, was bestowed with Ata.

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