7 Oct 2005

Tongan cabinet minister 'Akau'ola dies aged 70

5:09 pm on 7 October 2005

A senior member of the Tongan cabinet, the Noble 'Akau'ola, has died, reportedly collapsing after his early morning exercise walk on Thursday morning.

'Akau'ola, aged 70, was the Governor of Vava'u and had been a government spokesman during the recent public servants' strike.

His body is to be flown to Vava'u on Wednesday, the day before his funeral.

'Akau'ola is survived by his wife 'Evelini and five children.

He was a former High Commissioner to Britain and a Director of the Commonwealth Foundation during the early 1990s.

The speaker of the Tongan assembly, Veikune, says 'Akau'ola did a lot for the people of Vava'u while he was in London.

"During his time as the Tongan High Commissioner to London, he also had some negotiations to do with the European Union, aiding Vava'u in all ways of life like the fisheries, tourism, everything. 'Akau'ola had a very high part representing the people and the district of Vava'u."

'Akau'ola's death follows the passing of another Vava'u noble Tu'iafitu on Monday.