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King's body taken to royal residence to lie in state
12 September 2006
The body of the Tongan King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV is lying in state at his royal residence in Auckland but only after a dash through early-morning, peak-hour traffic.
The king, who died late on Sunday night, was taken to a funeral home in Papakura, south Auckland yesterday, to be prepared for a period of mourning and to lie in state in New Zealand and Tonga before his funeral next week.
Prepare for an earthquakeToday a cortege of funeral cars swept into the Auckland suburb of Epsom and up the long drive into Atalanga, the Tongan Royal residence, at first light.
The convoy of cars beat early morning traffic as it was escorted by about six police motorcycles. Moments before it arrived at Atalanga, police closed St Andrews Road and blocked off traffic access to the house.
The king's body will lie in state at the royal residence in Auckland until tomorrow when it would be taken to the Air Force's Whenuapai airbase on Auckland's North Shore, and loaded on to a Hercules transport aircraft.
The King will then be taken back to Tonga tomorrow for another period of lying in state before a full state funeral on Tuesday.
Tonga Government officials said the body would be accompanied on its trip back to Tonga by his wife, Queen Halaievalu Mata'aho, and other members of the royal family.
AdvertisementAdvertisementHours after his death he was succeeded by his son Crown Prince Tupouto'a who was sworn in as King Siaosi Tupou V.
Today New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and other mourners were expected to visit the Tongan royal residence to pay their final respects to the king.
Tonga went into an official month-long period of mourning yesterday but the Tongan royal family was to mourn their late king for six months.
The coronation of the new king was not likely for at least a year, said Tongan Lord Chamberlain Fielakepa.
He said the king was a working monarch virtually until he died a pain-free and peaceful death late on Sunday night at Ascot Mercy Hospital in Auckland.
He was a Christian monarch and a working monarch, said Fielakepa.
He had been getting medical treatment in Auckland for much of this year but the precise cause of death had not been released