Fonohema Dux: Cultural roots divide kainga on social media

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Crown Prince Tupoutoʻa presented dux award to Viliami Hopoate Fonohema. Photo/TBC

The announcement of the dux of this year’s combined government recruit course has sparked a light hearted battle online as different branches of his family claim the credit for his success.

Viliami Hopoate Fonohema was made dux of Tonga’s 61st Combined Recruit course, which trains new recruits for the Police, Fire and Prison services and His Majesty’s Armed Forces.

Recruits sat the same examinations and had their prize giving together at Taliai Military Camp in Fua’amotu last week.

Gabriel Naeata of Ta’anea Vava’u was awarded second place and Siaosi Vea of Ha’apai and Tongatapu was placed third.

The outstanding recruit for the Ministry of Fire was Viliami Patolo of Tafahi, Vaipoa and Veitongo Tongatapu while Sione Lavakei’aho of Falaleu Vava’u and Popua Tongatapu won the outstanding prize for the Prison Department.

It is normal practice in Tonga when it comes to achievement and the winning awards that the place of birth of the awardees and their parents have to be part of the announcement.

Fonohema’s uncle, who goes by the name Enele Ma’afu on Facebook, congratulated his achievement.

“Congratulations to my nephew Viliami Fonohema for being the Best Overall Recruit and also the Best Overall soldier recruit from His Majesty’s Armed Forces. Malo e ako,” he wrote.

He also said in Tongan: “I understand the kainga from Falevai, Vava’u and Tongaleleka are claiming you come from them, but I reckon you come with me to the Kali ko Mavaetangi ( Ha’asini  Tongatapu).”

Fonohema’s mother, who uses the Facebook name Funga Niu’ui, agreed, saying: “That’s the place where they can shout out and express their joy in times of happiness and triumph.”

Another person, Api ko Fakala’a, joined in and said Fonohema was from Tofoa, the place where he grew up and said the village name had been carried far and wide because of his great achievement.

Another cousin of Fonohema by the name Peni Junior Tutuila, thanked Fonohema’s parents and attributed his achievement to his side of Tongoleleka, saying his wisdom came from them.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala was the Guest of Honour at the graduation, and presented the prizes.

He congratulated the 61st combined recruits on their achievements and urged them to make use of what they had learned at the training camp.

The main points

  • The announcement of the dux of this year’s combined government recruit course has sparked a light hearted battle online as different branches of his family claim the credit for his success.
  • Viliami Fonohema was made dux of Tonga’s 61st Combined Recruit course, which trains new recruits for the Police, Fire and Prison services and His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
  • Recruits sat the same examinations and had their prize giving together at Taliai Military Camp in Fua’amotu.
  • Gabriel Naeata of Ta’anea Vava’u was awarded second place and Siaosi Vea of Ha’apai and Tongatapu was placed third.

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