'Aho'eitu's statue. Photos/Bou Fonua (Facebook)

A controversial statue of Tonga’s first ruler, King ‘Aho’eitu, has been installed in front of St George Palace in Nuku’alofa.

It is believed that this is a temporary installation and that the sculpture is supposed to be installed at the Popua National Park.

King Tupou VI’s birth name is king ‘Aho’eitu.

As Kaniva news reported in May, Associate Professor Viliami Tolutaʻu from Brigham Young University in Hawa’i met Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva in Tonga and told him he wanted to construct a bronze sculpture of king ‘Aho’eitu in the park.

Tolutaʻu is from Pangaimotu, Vavaʻu.

The Prime Minister agreed with the proposal, but the government was shocked to receive  a bill from Toluta’u saying he wanted for US$100,000 if it wanted him to go ahead with the work.

Chief Secretary Edgar Cocker said Toluta’u later wrote to say the government should ignore the invoice because he had found somebody to fund the project.

The statue of King ‘Aho’eitu is shown holding a sika, javelin. He won a javelin throwing competition between him and his brothers.

Several kupesi, or geometric designs, are carved on his tapa cloth. One of them is the footprint of the tuli bird – a symbol of the Tangaloa clan.

There is also a depiction of the hoi plant, which is poisonous.

ʻAhoʻeitu is depicted wearing a fāʻonelua necklace.

The main points

  • A controversial statue of Tonga’ first ruler, King ‘Aho’eitu ha been installed in front of St George Palace in Nuku’alofa.
  • It is believed that this is a temporary installation and that the sculpture is supposed to be installed at the Popua National Park.

For more information

US$100,000 “unexpected invoice” for ‘Aho’eitu image shocks government, Chief Secretary says

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