The Solomon Islands community in Tonga accorded the Governor General H.E Sir David Vunagi, GCMG, KStJ, a dinner on Friday 6th October 2023 at the Beulah Adventist College in Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga.
The dinner is to both welcome and farewell the Governor General and accompanying officials who are in Nuku’alofa for the USP Tonga Campus graduation ceremony.
The dinner was graced with a traditional Tongan chiefly welcome by Mr Siaosi Masila, followed by a short devotion led by Ms Joyce Soakai, and entertainments and speeches.
Mr Eddie Tozaka, who spoke on behalf of the community, said that “the presence of Solomon Islanders in Tonga shows that Solomon Islands can also produce skilful and resourceful citizens who can support our regional neighbors in areas such as teaching, health and aviation and other government sectors, and in the process help build our own knowledge and skills which we can use to build our own country when we return.”
He further thanks the Governor General and delegation for attending the dinner and said “your presence here reminds us to be proud Solomon Islanders and to represent our country well here in Tonga”.
The Deputy Private Secretary to the Governor General Mr Maxwell Banyo also took the opportunity on behalf of the delegation to thank the community for hosting the dinner. He said “Tonga and Solomon Islands connections started in the 1900’s when Tongans came to our shores as Methodist missionaries.”
“Over the years our two countries have strengthened and deepen our relations mostly through our people to people connections in areas such as church, fisheries, education or through marriage, and also via existing regional cooperation in our Blue Pacific. You are a testament to this and so let us continue to cooperate and strive together to further enhance and deepen our two countries’ bonds.”
The Solomon Islands diaspora in Tonga is small but growing. There are currently nine Solomon Islands families living in Tonga.