July 4th 2012 Nuku’alofa, Tonga – is when our family marked “100 nights” since the burial of the late King George V. The tradition of the Pō Teau or 100 Nights is practiced only for the Tongan Monarchy and its Royal Family. The Pō Teau means that the Tapu or period of national mourning for the late King has ended and people are free to take down the purple and black material they had donned their homes and buildings with. The Pō Teau is also when the Hifo Kilikili is performed. Kilikili are small black stones found on the outer islands of Niua and ‘Eua and are brought to Tongatapu for the Hifo Kilikili ceremony.
These small black stones are washed in very large wooden bowls called Sene, first in Sea water and then Tongan Oil (so that they glisten) and then placed by the Nima Tapu (Traditional Royal Undertakers) on the Tomb of King George V first followed by everyone else buried in the surrounding Royal Tombs. The Head Matãpule(Royal Undertaker High Chief) at this ceremony is Lauaki. Since the King’s death Lauaki has been in charge of everything but was called by his other name Maliepō during the funeral until after the Hifo Kilikili.
This ceremony means that the Nima Tapu will be released from their duties as Royal Undertakers and they can return to their homes free from the Tapu that surrounded them since the passing of King George V. Our family will continue wearing black until the end of 2012 in memory of the King we lost King George Tupou V.
Written By: Hon. Frederica Tuita