Ode to a Queen

Halaevalu Mata’aho Ahome’e May 1926 – February 2017

MUCH loved by her subjects, respected throughout the kingdom, Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho ‘Ahome’e was laid to rest in the Royal Tombs at Mala’ekula on March 1. The late Queen Mother bore two kings – Tupou VI and his eccentric brother, Siaosi Tupou V, who died in 2012. And she was Queen Consort of Tonga from 1965 to 2006 as wife of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV whom she married in 1947.

Tupou IV ascended the throne in 1966 after the death of his mother, Queen Salote, the previous year in Auckland, New Zealand. A quarter of a century later, Mata’aho – like her mother-in-law – went to New Zealand and succumbed to an illness which she had suffered for some time. Born the eldest daughter of ‘Ahome’e (Manu-‘o-pangai) and his wife, Heu?ifanga, Halaevalu was descended from Ma’afu – the warring prince who governed Lau and threatened to rule Fiji in the late 1800s.

As Ma’afu’s great-great-granddaughter she had blood ties to several Fijian chiefly families including those in Lakeba, Taveuni, Bau and Rewa. Those links were revived last year through the marriage of her niece, Odette ‘Ainise Kilinalivoni Tupouohomohema Taumoepeau-Tupou to Ratu Penaia Kamisese Tuivanuavou (Edward) Ganilau.

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