By BOSORINA ROBBY
HISTORY was made yesterday when the prince of Tonga, Tupouto’a Lavaka, presented his credentials to Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane yesterday.
As the first high commissioner of Tonga to PNG, and based in Canberra, Australia, Mr Tupouto’a announced that the occasion reflected the longstanding association and commitment his country and PNG would share in strengthening and enhancing their friendly relations.
He said the historical ties of both countries dated back to 1875 when the London Missionary Society sent out missionaries to Tonga, PNG and other Pacific Island countries, which continued through the two world wars up until today, influencing the establishment of the United church.
Testimonies of this special bond included the literature written by reverend Dr Sione Latukefu and the Sione Kami Memorial church in Port Moresby.
He said cooperation in security matters, economy, education and sports were also testaments of the good relationship that both countries had had other the years.
Mr Tupouto’a said education had been a big component of the relationship as both Tongans and Papua New Guineans had undertaken tertiary scholarships specialising in engineering, architecture and medicine.
Sir Paulias said their membership of various regional and international organisations provide the basis to pursue common concerns.
Sir Paulias also extended his appreciation for Tonga’s part as members of the South Pacific peace keeping contingent that assisted in restoring peace on Bougainville in 1997.