Wednesday 31 December 2014 | Published in Regional
that is threatening to upstage the appointment of a new government in the South Pacific Kingdom.
According to Kaniva News, Tonga’s Queen Nanasipau‘u’s nephew Lord Luani, exchanged vows with ‘Eseta Fukatonga Maka, a commoner, in the United States last week.
Lord Luani’s mother is Lady Luseane Vaea, a younger sister of Tonga’s Queen Nanasipau‘u.
Lord Luani’s first cousin, Prince Ata, was a guest of honour at the wedding, which was held in Alaska, America’s northern-most state.
The marriage has caused a fierce debate to erupt on social media. There have been exchanges of strong and disrespectful words on Facebook between the supporters of the bride and the groom.
Adding fuel to the fire is the news that the bride already has a child to anther man.
The bride, who is not a member of the nobility, has claimed that she had a child with Mapa Malupo, a younger brother of Tongan MP Makahokovalu Malupo who has since been courting Princess Angelica Latufuipeka Tuku’aho.
For a noble like Luani to marry a woman who has borne a child to another may cause traditionally-minded people to expect a huge reaction of fakalotoloto, or the harbouring of grudges by the families involved in the wedding, Kaniva News reports.
Some of the messages appearing on Facebook show that some people have already taken sides on the issue.
One commentator on a Facebook group known as Royal Tongan Dynasties–Noble Forum: “My Nephew Lord Noble Luan – ofa lahi atu (love you heaps) and please, no Marriage to outside finemotua (a woman who has born a child) hoiiii, temau hae vala pee (we will tear off our clothes to show our dislike) from USA all the way to Tonga.”
A source very close to Lord Luani’s family told Kaniva News the nobleman had told his mother, Lady Luseane, that his love for Fukatonga had brought him to a situation where they both decided to tie the knot.
The source said Lady Luseane had agreed to the wedding.
According to her Facebook page, the bride known as Esther Fukatonga, studied business administration and global marketing at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and is currently a recruitment officer with the US Army and Alaskan National Guard.
Members of the kingdom’s nobility have traditionally been encouraged to seek partners among other noble families or the royal family to ensure their social standing. Those who married commoners have been regarded as having degraded their social status within Tongan culture.
It appears, however, that serious changes have affected the royal status quo and young members of nobility no longer want to only seek wives and husbands within the nobility. Instead they are choosing to marry people they love, a trend critics say could slowly undermine the prestige and esteem with which the nobility expects to be regarded.
Lord Luani’s wedding comes after the marriage of Lord Fakafanua, the former Speaker of Tonga’s Parliament to Lady Fane Kite, a commoner, in October.
Lord Luani has estates in Malapo, Nakolo on Tongatapu and Tefisi in Vava’u.