Tongan Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu laid to rest

Photo: Tonga Mission Canberra/Facebook

Princess Mele Siu’ilkutapu Kalaniuvalu Fotofili (the Dowager Lady Kalaniuvalu-Fotofili) was laid to rest at the Royal Tombs, Mala’e Kula, in the heart of a quiet subdued capital, Nuku’alofa, Saturday.

After a Friday night vigil at the seaside Royal Palace, the casket was conveyed by the bearer party to the royal funeral cortège, under the charge of the traditional Royal Undertaker, Lauaki.

The funeral left the Royal Palace ain a slow procession along Hala Tu’i to the Royal Tombs, led by 100 members of His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF) and a Guard of Honour, followed by a combined brass band of HMAF and Tonga Police and church leaders. 

Princess Sālote Mafile’o Pilolevu Tuita and Lord Tuita, Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala and Crown Princess Sinaitakala, Prince Ata and HRH Princess ‘Ofeina ‘e he Langi Fakafanua, followed on foot behind the procession, with other members of the Royal Family.

Students sitting, and mourners lined both sides of Hala Tu’i, bowing their heads in respect as the Princess made the final journey to her resting place.

At the Royal Tombs, Queen Nanasipau’u and other members of the Royal Family were waiting, before the arrival of HM King Tupou VI. 

Born on 12 May 1948, Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu was the second of ten grandchildren of the late Queen Salote Tupou III.

She was the eldest daughter of Prince Fatafehi Tu’ipelehake and Princess Melenaite Tupoumoheofo Veikune. Her father was a younger brother of the late King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV.

A first cousin of King Tupou VI, Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu married the late Noble Kalaniuvalu Fotofili (Ngalumotutulu) and they had two sons: the late Hon. Tiofilusi Fatuilangi Ngalumotutulu and Hon. Tepiuti Tupoulahi Mailefihi.

Known as not only a formidable figure in Tongan community leadership in New Zealand but also for her faith in God, Princess Mele Siu’ilkutapu was the first woman to be elected to the Legislative Assembly in Tonga and was a People’s Representative from 1975 until 1978. Among her many roles, she was President of the Langafonua ‘a Fafine Tonga and  the Pacific Women’s Christian Association. She had also joined numerous christian crusades abroad, and had represented Tonga in various international conferences.

Princess Mele Siu’ililkutapu passed away at the age 75-years-old on 28 May at Auckland City Hospital in New Zealand.

She was pre-deceased by her husband, Kalaniuvalu – Fotofili, and her eldest son, Tiofilusi.. She is survived by her youngest son, HSH Prince Kalaniuvalu – Lord Fotofili. He married Marcella Tupoumoheofo Taumoepeau-Tupou and they have one son, Hon. Gennaro Theophilus Ngalumotutulu Kalaniuvalu Fofotfili