A spe­cial corona­tion for min­is­ter

Central Leader - - News - By Lisa Sloan

Be­ing recog­nised for ser­vice to the com­mu­nity is noth­ing new for Kil­ifi Heimuli.

The walls of his San­dring­ham home are lined with cer­tifi­cates in­clud­ing a Queen’s Ser­vice Medal and mem­ber­ship to the New Zealand Or­der of Merit.

He spent 17 years as a po­lice of­fi­cer, more than 10 years as a Methodist min­is­ter and helps out var­i­ous com­mu­nity groups around the coun­try.

His lat­est achieve­ment was be­ing named a com­man­der in a cer­e­mony at the corona­tion of Ton­gan King Ge­orge Tupou V on Au­gust 1 for ser­vices to the king and king­dom.

But when asked about the hon­our, Mr Heimuli is re­luc­tant to ac­cept any praise.

“I just love work­ing with and serv­ing peo­ple, both in­di­vid­u­als and in the com­mu­nity,” he says.

Mr Heimuli has en­joyed a var­ied ca­reer since he came to New Zealand from Tonga in the 1970s.

He trained as a po­lice of­fi­cer, grad­u­at­ing in 1983 and spent 17 years in the force, earn­ing a Queen’s Ser­vice Medal dur­ing that time.

Along­side his work as a po­lice of­fi­cer, Mr Heimuli was ac­tively in­volved with the St Johns Methodist Church in Pon­sonby.

He has spent many years help­ing youth who im­mi­grated from Tonga to in­te­grate into so­ci­ety, find jobs and learn life skills, and has par­tic­i­pated in lo­cal and na­tional gov­ern­ment.

He has also of­fered his ser­vices to the com­mu­nity as a driv­ing in­struc­tor help­ing peo­ple of var­i­ous cul­tures gain their driver’s li­cences af­ter mov­ing to New Zealand.

In 1997, Mr Heimuli de­cided to work in in the church full­time.

He trained as a min­is­ter and was or­dained a year later.

He is now part of Va­he­fonua Tonga o’ Aotearoa – a Ton­gan synod of the Methodist Church and is a district co-su­per­in­ten­dent of the Methodist Church of New Zealand.

In 2006, Mr Heimuli was re­warded for his long ser­vice to the com­mu­nity by be­ing made a mem­ber of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit.

He was sur­prised to hear he was also re­ceiv­ing an hon­our at this year’s corona­tion of King Ge­orge Tupou V.

“I was very pleased and hon­oured to get the phone call and to be in­vited to the cel­e­bra­tions,” he says.

Rev­erend and friend Te­vita Fuinau has known Mr Heimuli since he came to New Zealand.

He says he de­serves the hon­our be­cause of his long ser­vice to the com­mu­nity, not only in Tonga but New Zealand as well.

“He has multi roles at multi lev­els and the awards demon­strate his pas­sion and com­pas­sion for the peo­ple,” he says.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Proud day: Kil­ifi Heimuli of San­dring­ham was named a com­man­der in the Ton­gan Corona­tion cer­e­mony held last month.

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