Trib­utes flow for ser­vice

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ANNA LOREN

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.

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