Photographer Jocelyn Carlin

Pacific News -Tonga

The funeral services of their Royal Highnesses Prince Tu'ipelehake ('Uluvalu Ngu Takeivulai) and Princess Kaimana Hauoli-O-Kuini Tu'ipelehake, who died tragically in a car accident in California took place on Thursday and Friday 20 and 21st July 2006.

The accident occurred at 9pm local time on 5th July 2006, at Menlo Park near Palo Alto, south of San Francisco.

Teenager Edith Delgado has pleaded not guilty 3 counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, she is held on bail of an unprecedented US$3 million after her speeding Mustang sideswiped the royal's vehicle, it rolled and landed upside-down killing the couple and their driver Vinisia Hefa,

Delgado had been racing another car speeding up to 160mph and was unhurt.

The Prince, a nephew of the King of Tonga and was the Noble's 3rd representative for Tongatapu (the capital island) in Tonga's Legislative Assembly

Educated in New Zealand and Britain he was the Chairman of the 12 member National Committee for Political Reform (NCPR) and the leading advocate for greater democracy.

His wife, Princess Kaimana was also born into the nobility and academically achieved. She supported her husband's position and aided his work, though not expecting Tongan tax payers to foot the bill she paid her own expenses when choosing to travel with him.

A year ago Tu'iplelehake 'The Peoples Prince' led more than 3000 striking Tongan civil servants to present a petition for political reform to the King.

They were in California discussing the way forward with the US' Tongan communities; the NCPR's findings will be reported to King Taufa'ahau Tupou 1V by the end of August 06 according to original planning.

Tonga is the only remaining Kingdom in the Pacific its Government is dominated by the Nobles (the Royal family). Tu'ipelehake, sympathetic to a Democratic Political system, vigorously defended freedom of speech.

News of the accident came in the week of the King's elaborate 88th birthday celebrations. King Taufa'ahau Tupou 1V has ruled for 40 years coming to power in 1965 after the death of his mother Queen Salote.

Other Galleries in this exhibition
Pacific Kiribati 09 | Environmental Stories from the Pacific Region | Pacific News -Tonga | Pacific News - Tonga2 | Another War Story | Tuvalu | Legacy Tuvalu - The Footprint on Funafuti | American Samoa and Samoa | Solomon Islands | Nauru/Kiribati/Fiji