2 Jul 2015

Tonga welcomes overseas delegates

11:57 am on 2 July 2015

The Prime Minister and district Nobles of Tonga will host a welcome lunch today for all invited officials and delegates who have arrived for King Tupou VI's coronation.

Tonga coronation

Tonga coronation Photo: RNZI / Indira Moala

The luncheon will include traditional entertainment by local residents and will be held at the Pangai Lahi domain in the capital Nuku'alofa.

Among the international royal guests are Prince Georg von Habsburg of Hungary and Princess Marie-Therese von Hohenberg from Austria and the Maori King Tuheitia Paki.

Heads of states and government officials from around the world are also in attendance.

China has gifted 30 vehicles to Tonga to help with the transportation of all the official delegates and guests.

Tonga coronation

Tonga coronation Photo: RNZI / Indira Moala

Over the past few weeks, every village, church and school in Tonga have been presenting their hala, a traditional gift offering of food, mats and money, to the Royal family.

Districts and villages belonging to the King and Queen gave gift offerings specifically requested by the Royal family.

Locals say that some of their offerings will be gifted to the guests in attendance.

Tourist operators say Tonga is flooded with more overseas visitors than the last Coronation.

Kolotita Lolesio from the Friends Cafe says their business has experienced a 90% increase in sales during the Coronation celebrations.

The King's formal crowning takes place on Saturday.

Tonga coronation

Tonga coronation Photo: RNZI / Indira Moala