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Mourners gather for late Tongan PM Akilisi Pohiva's funeral

The funeral for Tongan Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva is underway with many members of the royal family, including Queen Nanasipau’u, present. 

The Prime Minister’s cortège travelled from the St George Government Building, where he had been lying in state, to the Centenary Church earlier this morning. 

Family members walked behind the hearse and school children lined the road as a mark of respect. 

As well as members of the Royal Family, the President of Fiji is at the service as well as a large New Zealand delegation headed by Minister Jenny Salesa and  Australian Minister for International Development in the Pacific Alex Hawke. 

The royal family have been involved in the democracy fighter’s funeral as Akilisi Pohiva comes from a royal line. His grandfather was the half brother of King George Tupou 1. 

Princess Latufuipeka Tuku’aho, the only daughter of the current King, who is enroute to the UN climate change meeting, has been keeping vigil at the late Prime Minister’s coffin.

Mr Pohiva often clashed with the royals for decades while serving as an MP in parliament, at one time being imprisoned for his stand. He fought for more.

Democracy and less political involvement by the monarchy. 

He finally became the Kingdoms first Peoples elected Prime Minister in 2014 but his four year term was prematurely terminated by the King in 2017.

But a subsequent election brought him back into power by popular vote. 

Mr Pohiva died on September 12 in Auckland hospital after being hospitalised with pneumonia. He had been battling liver cancer. 

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A procession to Whenuapai air base included members of the Tongan cabinet, his family and Tongan police. Source: 1 NEWS

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Akilisi Pohiva died in Auckland last Thursday after being hospitalised with pneumonia. Source: Breakfast