Thousands of villagers from the outer islands of Tonga arrived by boat at Nuku'alofa on the main island on Saturday (8 November) to take part in the hundredth anniversary of constitutional rule in Tonga.
SV Tribal dancers in Palace grounds
CU Centenary poster (1875-1975) ZOOM OUT TO Officials seated for celebrations (3 shots)
King's daughter arrives
SV King seated in Royal box
SV Girls singing
SV Kings's daughter singing
SV Gifts carried forward for presentation PAN TO Girl dancers
SV & CU People eating at feast (3 shots)
SV King walks to Royal tomb to unveil statue of mother, fails to unveil statue
SV Scouts and guides look on as statue is unveiled his by helper on ladder
SV King on front of statue
SV Officials laying wreaths at tomb (2 shots)
SV Cannon fires PAN UP TO Flags being hoisted
WEBSTER: Today thousands of islands of villagers and dancers from the outer islands of Tonga have been arriving by the boat-load at Nuku'alofa where the celebration is. And on this day all of them were here packed on to the park by the Royal Palace for an afternoon's traditional dancing in which the king's youngest daughter was the first to take part. But his majesty, king Taufa'ahou Tupou was right there of course too in the Royal box. (SINGING) It's the custom in Tonga to show one's appreciation of the dancers by giving them money - not Royalty of course, that wouldn't be fitting. So instead people brought gifts to lay at the ladies' feet. About five thousand people sat down to eat, and between them they demolished three thousand suckling pigs, a couple of thousand chickens, hundreds of crayfish and crabs, and untold pounds of water melon. Earlier, twenty thousand people - about one fifth of Tonga's total population - gathered at the Royal tomb, where the king was to unveil a statue of his mother, the late Queen Salute. It was a solemn occasion, but in Tonga laid plans have a habit of going a little away. That's how it was with the unveiling. After a few anxious moments, a ladder was called for, and to everyone's relief the shroud was free.
Now it was time for the wreath laying. For over an hour visiting dignitaries, including high commissioners from Britain, Canada, and Australia, as well as other representatives from around the Pacific, came forward to lay wreaths on the Royal tomb.
This film is serviced with a commentary for use by reporter, Stephanie Webster, a transcript of which is provided on page two.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Thousands of villagers from the outer islands of Tonga arrived by boat at Nuku'alofa on the main island on Saturday (8 November) to take part in the hundredth anniversary of constitutional rule in Tonga. The celebrations were led by King Taufa'ahou Tupou the Fourth and the Royal family.
In the afternoon the people packed into the park alongside the Royal Palace for several hours of traditional dancing. The King's youngest daughter was among the first to take part, while other members of Royal family joined in the singing from the Royal box. It is a Tongan custom to show appreciation of dancers by giving money, but as that would not be fitting for the Royal participants, the people laid gifts at their feet instead.
About five thousand people sat down for the feast that had been prepared, and between them they are three thousand suckling pigs, two thousand chickens, hundreds of crayfish and crabs, and thousands of pounds of water melon.
Earlier in the day about twenty thousand people - roughly a fifth of Tonga's total population - gathered at the Royal tomb to see king Tupou unveil a statue of his mother, the late Queen Salute.It was a solemn occasion, but the unveiling met with a little difficulty. No matter how hard the king pulled, the cloth covering the statue refused to fall. After several anxious moments a ladder was called for, and a humble subject helped to free the covering.
The festivities were also attended by visiting dignitaries from other countries, including high commissioners from Britain, Canada, and Australia.
The Tonga Constitution is based on that granted in 1875 by king George Tupou the First, and it provides for a government consisting of the Sovereign, a Privy Council and Cabinet, a Legislative Assembly and a Judiciary. It allows the Privy Council limited powers of law-making.