20 Mar 2012

Tongan flags fly half mast

11:26 am on 20 March 2012

Tongan flags, both in the Kingdom and abroad, are flying at half mast as a sign of respect, following the death of King George Tupou the fifth.

King George died in Hong Kong on Sunday, and a date for his funeral is yet to be announced.

Megan Whelan reports.

"Radio Tonga reports all Tongan flags are flying at half mast, and foreign embassies in the Kingdom are also flying their flags at half mast, including the New Zealand High Commission in Nuku'alofa, the Chinese Embassy and the Australian High Commissioner's residence. Tongans have begun mourning, wearing black and waist-mats to show their grief at the passing of the King. They included the civil servants at the Prime Minister's Office and the staff at the Public Service Commission. Some of the businesses in downtown Nuku'alofa have started to drape their buildings in black to show they are in mourning and out of respect to the Royal Family."