Tongan MP Hingano dies in NZ

(L-R) The late Viliami Hingano with Tonga PM Siaosi Sovaleni. PHOTO: Office of the Prime Minister Tonga

Tongan Cabinet Minister, Viliami Manuopangai Hingano, passed away Friday, at the Auckland City Hospital in New Zealand, the Tonga Prime Minister’s Office has announced. 

Hingano travelled to New Zealand on 30 December for medical treatment, only two days after he was appointed as Tonga’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, in the new government.

“It is with profound sadness that the Office of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga announces the untimely death of Viliami Manuopangai Hingano, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry,” said the statement.

Tonga’s Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni extended his deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to the late Cabinet minister’s family, saying “His passing is of immense loss to the country and to the nation.”

It is understood that Viliami Manuopangai Faka’osiula Hingano was about 47 years old. He was re-elected to the Legislative Assembly in the 2021 election as the Ha’apai no. 12 People’s Representative.

He entered parliament in the 2014 election but lost his seat in the 2017 election.

In January 2021, he was appointed as the Governor of Ha‘apai by the former Tongan Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’ionetoa.