As described in a previous post, the King of Tonga, HM King George Tupou V, passed away recently which left the people of Tonga in mourning. It is an honour for me to be given this opportunity to be the first to share online a tribute that was written for HM King George Tupou V by my cousin Manase Lua. Manase had first presented this poem at the Growing Pacific Solutions (GPS) Conference hosted by Le Va which took place at the beginning of this month in Auckland, New Zealand.
Manase currently works for Le Va which is New Zealand’s national coordination service and workforce development programme for Pacific mental health, addictions, disabilities and general health. Le Va’s vision is: Pacific leadership and well Pacific families. Manase’s leadership role at Le Va involves managing key initiatives from initiation and development through to implementation. He is also a member of the Pacific cultural team for Engaging Pasifika where he is responsible for relationship management with key stakeholders of the initiatives that he leads and supports.
Manase studied at The University of Auckland, New Zealand and attained a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts, with Honours in English. His academic focus was mainly in post-colonial New Zealand and Pacific literature. He is a humble Poet who has worked under the esteemed presence and guidance of Albert Wendt and Witi Ihimaera.
Dedicated to the passing of HM King George Tupou V
© Manase Lua, 2012
The sun has set and the Crux Australis weeps.
An aching black silence descends from the sky.
A white heron bows its head atop the leafy mane
of a solitary casuarina overlooking Fanga’uta.
The stillness of the air broken only by the occasional whisper
of dust dissipating like prayers from Hihifo to Kolo Kakala.
Time and fate have honoured these flat and unassuming lands,
with a legacy second to none.
‘Eua looms large in the east, lying in the shadows
of the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui.
Winds from the north stir the endless fine sands
and scar the azure waters of the Otu Kinekina.
The peaks of Kao and Tofua solemnly stand guard in the distance.
Ha’afeva is silent, no longer does the wind speak
through the trees around Matahiva.
Tungua mourns deeply in the sacred knowledge it keeps,
a single lupe released for Fiji.
‘Uiha and Pangai gather their grief like kafa and bind it together.
Tofua’a beach themselves on the mighty shores of Vava’u Lahi,
they drown with honour in the Lolo ‘a Halaevalu.
There is a ring of fire around Niuafo’ou,
It burns in the hearts of the people.
The guardians on Niuatoputapu and Tafahi
signal to Savai’i and ‘Upolu at low tide:
“Behold, the Hau has taken the sacred path!”
Yet, the lines that once defined three Kings converge
into the majesty of an awesome sun, rising to greet a new day.