5 Jun 2021

Finau Tutone, Tongan education pioneer, dies at 82

9:18 am on 5 June 2021

Tongan education stalwart and democratic activist Finau Tutone has died, aged 82.

He was also famed for democratic activism, one of the first, alongside the late Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva, to propose political reform.

Finau Tutone, 82, died peacefully in Tonga this week.

Finau Tutone, 82, died peacefully in Tonga this week. Photo: Kaniva Tonga

His body has been flown to New Zealand, where two of his children live.

Mr Tutone began his teaching career in 1958 after leaving Tupou College.

He went on to found The Friendly Islands Teachers' Association, working in primary and secondary schools across Tonga.

He also campaigned for democracy in Tonga, and fought to have the throne relinquish control of the running of government. A democratically-elected government eventually came into force in 2010.

For a time, he served as Tonga's Public Service Commissioner.

Finau Tutone is survived by his wife and four children, all advanced academics in their respective fields.

He is being remembered as a giving man who passionately served his country.