Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV

Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV (4 July 1918 – 10 September 2006) was the King of Tonga, from the death of his mother, Queen Sālote Tupou III, in 1965 until his own death in 2006.

Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV - ETH-Bibliothek Com LC1500-0777-001.tif
Tāufaʻāhau Tupou during a visit to Switzerland, 1985
King of Tonga
Reign16 December 1965 – 10 September 2006
Coronation4 July 1967 at Nukuʻalofa
PredecessorSālote Tupou III
SuccessorGeorge Tupou V
Prime Ministers
10th Prime Minister of Tonga
In office12 December 1949 – 16 December 1965
MonarchQueen Salote Tupou III
PredecessorHon. Solomone Ula Ata
SuccessorPrince Fatafehi Tu'ipelehake
Born(1918-07-04)4 July 1918
Royal Palace, Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Died10 September 2006(2006-09-10) (aged 88)
Auckland, New Zealand
SpouseHalaevalu Mataʻaho ʻAhomeʻe
IssueGeorge Tupou V
Princess Salote, Princess Royal
Prince Fatafehi 'Alaivahamama'o Tuku'aho
Tupou VI
FatherHon. Viliami Tungī Mailefihi
MotherQueen Salote Tupou III of Tonga
ReligionFree Wesleyan Church

Immediately prior to his death, he was the fifth longest-reigning living monarch in the world after Kings Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi of Ras al Khaimah, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Realms and Abdul Halim of Kedah.


The King's full baptismal name was Siaosi Tāufaʻāhau Tupoulahi, but he was soon better known by the traditional title reserved for Crown Princes: Tupoutoʻa (bestowed in 1937), later replaced by the title he inherited from his father: Tungī (or using both: Tupoutoʻa-Tungī, in that time written as Tuboutoʻa-Tugi). He kept the Tungī title until his death. From a traditional point of view he was not only the Tungī, which is the direct descendant from the Tuʻi Haʻatakalaua, but he was also, on becoming king, the 22nd Tuʻi Kanokupolu. The link with the Tuʻi Tonga, was more indirect. He was not a Tuʻi Tonga too (as that office has gone over into the Kalaniuvalu line), but his grandmother Lavinia Veiongo (wife of George Tupou II) was the great-granddaughter of Laufilitonga, the last Tuʻi Tonga, and his wife Halaevalu Mataʻaho (not to be confused with the King's wife of the same name and same family), who was the daughter of Tupou ʻAhomeʻe, who was the daughter of Lātūfuipeka, the Tamahā (sister of the Tuʻi Tonga). By consequence, the King's daughter, Pilolevu, was the first woman in Tongan culture to really have the blood of the three major Royal dynasties in her veins and become the highest-ranking person ever.

2 paʻanga coin commemorating Taufa'ahau Tupou's coronation in 1967.
The King as a student at Newington College

The King was a keen sportsman and religious preacher in his youth. He was educated at Newington College and studied law at Sydney University while resident at Wesley College in Sydney, Australia. He was appointed Minister of Education by Queen Sālote in 1943, Minister of Health in 1944, and in 1949, Premier. He remained a lay preacher of the Free Wesleyan Church until his death, and in some circumstances, was empowered to appoint an acting church president. In the 1970s, he was the heaviest monarch in the world, weighing in at over 200 kg (440 pounds or 31 stone). For his visits to Germany, the German Government used to commission special chairs that could support his weight. The King used to take them home, considering them as state presents. In the 1990s, he took part in a national fitness campaign, losing a third of his weight.[1]

The King was also very tall, standing 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m).[2] Shoemaker Per-Enok Kero reported that "He weighed 180 kilos and had shoe size 47 in length and 52 in breadth."[3]

He wielded great political authority and influence in Tonga's essentially aristocratic system of government, together with the country's nobles, who controlled 70% (now 35%) of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga. His involvement in an investment scandal, however, involving his American financial advisor Jesse Bogdonoff, had in his last years embroiled the King in controversy, leading to calls for greater government transparency and democratisation. The fact the King had previously appointed Bogdonoff, Tonga’s official Court Jester, though likely only done as a joke for Bogdonoff’s birthday which happened to fall on April 1, compounded the scandal’s embarrassment. In 2005, the government spent several weeks negotiating with striking civil service workers before reaching a settlement. The king's nephew, Tuʻi Pelehake (ʻUluvalu), served as mediator. A constitutional commission presented a series of recommendations for constitutional reform to the King a few weeks before his death.

Death and funeralEdit

On 15 August 2006, Tongan Prime Minister Feleti Sevele interrupted radio and television broadcasts to announce that the King was gravely ill in the Mercy Hospital in Auckland and to ask the 104,000 people of the island chain to pray for their King,[4] He died 26 days later, at 23:34 on 10 September 2006[5] (New Zealand time: it was just after midnight on 11 September in Tongan time). He was 88 and had reigned for 41 years.[6][7]

Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV was buried on 19 September 2006 at Malaʻe Kula (the Royal cemetery) in the Tongan capital, Nukuʻalofa. Thousands of Tongans watched the funeral and mourners included many foreign dignitaries, including Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, Vanuatu president Kalkot Mataskelekele, the American Samoan Governor Togiola Tulafono, Niue Premier Vivian Young, and the Duke of Gloucester, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. The funeral blended Christian and ancient Polynesian burial rites. The funeral was overseen by the Royal undertaker Lauaki and his men of the Haʻatufunga (clan), also known as the nima tapu (sacred hands).[8]

According to the International Herald Tribune, "Tupou IV's 41-year reign made him one of the world's longest-serving sovereigns", after Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej; Queen Elizabeth II, as queen of Australia, Barbados, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, specifically; and Samoa's head of state, Malietoa Tanumafili II.[9]

Marriage and childrenEdit

He was married to Queen Halaevalu Mataʻaho ʻAhomeʻe[10] (1926–2017) and the couple had four children:






  1. ^ "Tongan King Tupou IV dies at 88". BBC News. 11 September 2006. Retrieved 11 September 2006.
  2. ^ "King Tupou IV dies at 88". BBC News. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2007.
  3. ^ "A Rather Special Order". Kero.se. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Tongans urged to pray for dying King". Matangi Tonga. 15 August 2006. Archived from the original on 27 May 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2006.
  5. ^ "King's body to lie in state". The New Zealand Herald. 11 September 2006. Retrieved 11 September 2006.
  6. ^ The king's death as reported on Fijian TV on YouTube
  7. ^ Downes, Lawrence. "The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Royalty, dignitaries in Tonga gather for king's funeral". International Herald Tribune. 18 September 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
  10. ^ "DOUBLE WEDDING OF TONGAN PRINCES". Pacific Islands Monthly. Vol. XVII, no. 12. 18 July 1947. p. 13. Retrieved 18 January 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ to:File:Taufa Tupou 4.jpg
  12. ^ "Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip pose with members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during a tour of Canada, October 1977. Photos and Images". Getty Images. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  13. ^ "jeanpaulleblanc Resources and Information". Jeanpaulleblanc.com. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Fadlmedia.s3.amazonaws.com. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  15. ^ "1979: West Germany's Generous Offer". Mic.gov.to. 27 August 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Tonga Royalty Posing With Japanese Leaders". Getty Images. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Hu Jintao Meets with Tongan King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV". Fmprc.gov.cn. 19 October 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  18. ^ a b c "Photographic image" (GIF). 38.media.tumblr.com. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  19. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Itre.cis.upenn.edu. Retrieved 10 January 2017.

External linksEdit

Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
Born: 4 July 1918 Died: 10 September 2006
Titles of nobility
Preceded by 2nd Chief Tupoutoʻa[citation needed]
Succeeded by
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Tonga
Succeeded by