Tupou VI

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Tupou VI
Ulukalala Lavaka Ata.jpg
King of Tonga
Reign 18 March 2012 – present
Coronation 4 July 2015[1]
Predecessor George Tupou V
Heir apparent Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala
Prime Ministers
Prime Minister of Tonga
Term 3 January 2000 – 11 February 2006
Predecessor Baron Vaea
Successor Feleti Sevele
Monarch Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
Born (1959-07-12) 12 July 1959 (age 56)
Nukuʻalofa, Tonga
Spouse Nanasipauʻu Vaea
Issue Princess Lātūfuipeka Tukuʻaho
Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala
Prince Ata
Full name
ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho
House House of Tupou
Father Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
Mother Halaevalu Mataʻaho ʻAhomeʻe
Religion Methodism

Tupou VI (full name: ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho Tupou; born 12 July 1959) is the King of Tonga. He is the younger brother and successor of the late King George Tupou V. He was officially confirmed by his brother on 27 September 2006 as the heir presumptive to the Tongan throne, as his brother (a bachelor) had no legitimate children.[2] He served as Tonga's High Commissioner to Australia, and resided in Canberra[3][4] until the death of King George Tupou V on 18 March 2012, when ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho became King of Tonga, with the regnal name Tupou VI.[5]


He was born in Nukuʻalofa, Tonga, the third son and youngest child of King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV. He was educated at The Leys School, Cambridge, from 1973–77. He then attended the University of East Anglia, where he studied Development Studies, from 1977 to 1980.[6] He started his career in the military, joining the naval arm of the Tonga Defence Services in 1982 and becoming a Lieutenant-Commander in 1987. He graduated from the US Naval War College as part of Class 33 in 1988. From 1990 to 1995 he commanded the Pacific-class patrol boat VOEA Pangai and his time in charge included peacekeeping operations in Bougainville. He graduated with a masters in Defence Studies from the University of New South Wales in 1997 and with a MA in International Relations from Bond University in 1999.

In 1998 he ended his military career to become part of the government, first as the defence minister and the foreign minister at the same time, from October 1998 until August 2004. He took over these posts from his elder brother Tupoutoʻa, at that time still the crown prince, later to become King Siaosi Tupou V (see below). Soon he was appointed as Prime Minister on 3 January 2000, a function he kept until his sudden resignation on 11 February 2006, for which the reason has never become clear, but was probably due to the unrest in the country since mid-2005, a series of pro-democracy protests calling for a lesser role for the royal family in government. His appointed successor, Feleti Sevele, was Tonga's first prime minister who was not a hereditary estate holder or a member of the aristocracy made up of 33 noble families. In 2008 ʻAhoʻeitu was appointed Tonga's first High Commissioner to Australia, a post he held until his succession to the Tongan throne in 2012.[7] In 2013 he was appointed as Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific.[8]

Marriage and Family[edit]

Tupoutoʻa-Lavaka (centre) uncombed, unshaven and in mourning dress for his recently deceased father, king Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV in 2006. He is flanked by his two sons, the new chiefs ʻUlukālala (left) and Ata (right)

ʻAhoʻeitu is married to a daughter of the high chief Vaea, Nanasipauʻu Tukuʻaho (his second cousin) and the couple have three children:

Name and titles[edit]

Styles of
King Tupou VI of Tonga
Coat of arms of Tonga.svg
Reference style His Majesty
ko ʻene ʻafio
Spoken style Your Majesty
ko hoʻo ʻafio
Alternative style Sir

It is customary in Tongan culture that princes get a traditional chiefly title, by which they then are commonly known (and no longer by their baptised name). As such for many years, until his confirmation as heir presumptive, ʻAhoʻeitu was known by either one or all three of the titles which were bestowed on him over the time: Lavaka from Pea, ʻAta from Kolovai and ʻAtatā, and ʻUlukālala from Vavaʻu. These titles may be used in any order, (the one belonging to the area from which the speaker is coming usually first). Nevertheless, the sequences Lavaka Ata ʻUlukālala and ʻUlukālala Lavaka Ata were most common.

Since his confirmation as heir presumptive, he got the traditional title of Tupoutoʻa, reserved for crown princes, which his older brother (the second) had to give up because he married a commoner, while two of his previous titles went to his sons. As such he was until his accession to the throne known as Tupoutoʻa Lavaka. His elder son, Siaosi, (George) is to be addressed by the prestigious title of ʻUlukālala, while his second son, Viliami, (William) was bestowed with ʻAta.


King Tupou VI after his coronation ceremony in Nuku'alofa on 4 July 2015

King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u were crowned in a ceremony conducted at Centenary Church in Nuku'alofa on 4 July 2015 by Reverend D'Arcy Wood, a retired Uniting Church in Australia minister who was born in Tonga. He was assisted by Reverend Dr ‘Ahio and Reverend Dr Tevita Havea - the President and the Secretary General of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga.[10] The celebrations included many international invited guests, and an estimated 15,000 people, mostly expatriate Tongans, flew in to join the celebrations.

During the ceremony, Tupou VI was anointed with holy oil, adorned with a ring, and presented with a sceptre. The crown was then placed on his head by Wood, who performed the anointing and crowning as a matter of circumventing the taboo on native Tongans touching the King's head. The celebrations ran for a total of eleven days, beginning a week before the ceremony.[11]


Royal monogram of Tupou VI

See also List of honours of the Tongan Royal Family by country

National Orders[edit]

He is Grand Master of the Royal Orders of Tonga :


  • Tonga : King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV Coronation Silver Jubilee Medal (4.7.1992) [12]
  • Tonga : King George Tupou V Coronation Medal (31.7.2008) [12]
  • Tonga : Tonga Defence Services General Service (Bougainville) Medal (4.7.1995) [12]
  • Tonga : Tonga Defence Services Long Service and Good Conduct Medal [12]


See the Tongan language page and ancestor's page ...

Royal Family of Tonga
Royal Arms of Tonga

HM The King
HM The Queen

HM The Queen Mother

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tonga Broadcasting
  2. ^ Tupouto'a Lavaka, Tonga's new Crown Prince Matangi Tonga, 27 September 2006
  3. ^ "Crown Prince Tonga's first High Commissioner to Australia", Matangi Tonga, 15 August 2008
  4. ^ read&id=41482 "Tonga’s Crown Prince made High Commissioner in Canberra", Radio New Zealand International, 15 August 2008
  5. ^ "Announcement of the Passing of His Late Majesty & Proclamation of the New King". Tonga Government Portal. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "One in seven countries has leader who studied in UK". BBC News. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "HRH The Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka: Tonga's First High Commissioner to Australia". Tonga Government Portal. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Mic
  9. ^ Tongan Royal Heir Engaged to Marry
  10. ^ Fonua, Pesi; Folau, Linny (4 July 2015). "HM King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u crowned at Centenary Church". Matangi Tonga (Vava'u Press). Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Fox, Liam (4 July 2015). "Tonga crowns King Tupou VI in lavish public coronation, parties". Nuku'alofa: ABC News. Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Royal Ark, Tongan Genealogy details
  13. ^ Royal Ark

External links[edit]

Tupou VI
House of Tupou
Born: 12 July 1959
Political offices
Preceded by
Tupouto'a Tungi
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Sonatane Tuʻa Taumoepeau-Tupou
Preceded by
Prime Minister of Tonga
Succeeded by
Feleti Sevele
Titles of nobility
Preceded by
George Tupou V
Chief Tupoutoʻa
Succeeded by
Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala
Diplomatic posts
New office High Commissioner to Australia
Succeeded by
Lātūfuipeka Tukuʻaho
Regnal titles
Preceded by
George Tupou V
King of Tonga
Heir apparent:
Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala