Public Holiday

Tonga rewarded with public holiday

The Pacific Islanders, forced to play as Tonga Invitational XIII due to political infighting, beat the Lions 14-6 in Hamilton last month before pulling off a stunning 16-12 defeat of the world champions at Eden Park on Saturday.

New Zealand, Great Britain and England were the only sides to have beaten Australia in the previous 41 years before their stunning loss to Kristian Woolf's side.

The Tongan team have been invited for an official reception in recognition of their victories and they will be even more popular after a national holiday was declared.

Public holiday declared in Tonga for historical win over Australia

The team claimed a slice of history when they stunned world No.1 Australia 16-12 in a pulsating test at Eden Park on Saturday night.

The players are expected to arrive in Tonga next week.

According to Kaniva News, it is understood that Cabinet approved the decision Tuesday.

Tonga’s Prime Minister  Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa, has officially congratulated the team.

Tonga declares public holiday for PM Pohiva's state funeral

Akilisi Pohiva, who died in Auckland on Thursday after being hospitalised with pneumonia, had been the longest serving MP in Tonga and Prime Minister since 2014.

Family services have already begun in Auckland with a public and official memorial service held at the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Mangere Sunday night.

Mr Pohiva will be repatriated to Tonga on Tuesday via a Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft and will lie-in-state at the St George Building in Nuku'alofa as various church and community groups pay their respects.

Tonga declares public holiday Mate Ma’a Tonga world cup campaign

All team players will return to Tonga today except for six who require medical attention.

As Kaniva News reported the players will be invested with an award of the Royal Orders to recognise their contribution to sports.

The investiture ceremony will be held on Wednesday (November 29) at the Royal Palace at 4.30 pm (local time).

The awards will reflect the tremendous effort Tonga made to take on top tier teams like England and New Zealand and to come within a whisker of gaining a place in the finals.

Tonga's Queen Mother laid to rest today

Queen Mata'aho is to be laid to rest this morning after dying in Auckland last weekend.

RNZ reports the Queen Mother lay in state overnight at the Royal Palace in Nuku'alofa while the takipo was held.

Churches were allocated an hour each throughout the night to pay homage to Queen Mata'aho through prayer and song while schools took turns to keep ceremonial fires burning outside until day break.