Tributes flow for service
Tributes are flowing for a man who ‘‘dedicated his life to serving his community’’.
Sione Liava’a, a Pacific advocate and Tongan community leader, died peacefully on May 17 after a long illness. He was 70.
Liava’a had been actively involved with the Tongan community in Auckland for decades.
His services to the community saw him awarded an honorary Queen’s Service Medal in July.
The investiture ceremony was brought forward from September due to Liava’a’s health issues.
The Papatoetoe man said at the time that he felt ‘‘honoured and humbled’’ by the award.
Liava’a was a member of a number of organisations, including the Pacific Islands Advisory Panel and the Tongan Health Society.
He was also heavily involved in education, serving as a member of the board of trustees of Auckland Grammar School for five years and chairman of the Pacific Island Parents Committee for eight.
Liava’a also ran a Tongan language morning radio show for 17 years on which he translated news reports into his native language.
Staff at Radio New Zealand International who worked with him sent their condolences to his family.
‘‘He was a true professional and was much admired by his colleagues and by his listeners in Tonga. We will all miss him,’’ they said in an online tribute.
Most recently Liava’a was a member of the Labour Party and encouraged the Tongan community to vote and pursue social justice.
Liava’a was farewelled at a service at the Manukau Memorial Gardens chapel on May 22.
He is survived by his wife Christine, children Talite, Matthew and Helen and children-in-law Janine and Paul.