Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva (By ITU Pictures -, CC BY 2.0,

Palau is mourning with the people of Tonga in the news of the passing of Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva who died in Auckland on September 12 after being hospitalized with pneumonia.

In a letter dated September 12, 2019 which was addressed to King Tupou VI of the Kingdom of Tonga, Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. extended his and the people of Palau’s condolences to the people of Tonga.

In his letter, Remengesau cited Prime Minister Pohiva’s “exemplified perseverance and unwavering resolve” as one of the Pacific’s longest serving leaders.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Prime Minister Pohiva and the people of the Kingdom of Tonga,” Remengesau said in the letter.

Pohiva’s state funeral will be held on September 19 at the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga before he will be laid to rest at the Telekaya Cemetery in Kolomotu’a. The date of funeral was also designated as a public holiday and a national day of mourning in Tonga.

Pohiva is said to be the longest serving MP in Tonga and had been the Tonga Prime Minister since 2014.

Prior to his death, Pohiva was reportedly undergoing treatment for liver problems. He died at the age of 78. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)