When Methodist Minister Rev Kilifi Heimuli went to Tonga for the coronation of King George Tupou V he was not expecting to be the centre of attention himself.
That was the case, however, when he was made a Commander of the Order Queen Salote Tupou III. Commander is the highest level in the Order and at anyone time there are only 10 people who hold it.
|Rev Kilifi Heimuli with his medal.|
Kilifi was given the award for his service to Tonga. He was the late King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV’s spokesperson in New Zealand. He spoke for the king on some ceremonial occasions, including at Turangawaewae, where he has spoken a number of time because he is in fluent Maori.
In addition this award, Kilifi has been recognised for his public service in New Zealand. In 2006 he received the NZ Order of Merit for his service to the Tongan community and the Church. Kilifi was one of the founding members of the first Tongan congregation in the Methodist Church of NZ and he has long been active in prison ministry.
Kilifi and his wife Lalofi were invited to attend all the major functions during the coronation of the new king in July.