Dr. Massaso Paunga, Vice President, Regional Campuses and Estate and Infrastructure (3rd from right) with staff of the USP Tonga Campus preparing to make a presentation to the King of Tonga, His Majesty King Tupou VI.
In marking its weeklong celebration of The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) 50th anniversary, the Tonga Campus community paid tribute to the King of Tonga, His Majesty King Tupou VI, at his royal residence on 12 November 2018.
The delegation was led by Dr. Massaso Paunga, Vice President, Regional Campuses and Estate and Infrastructure, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra.
VP Paunga showcased the strong and committed relationship shared between the University and His Majesty and the people of Tonga for the golden years achieved and those yet to come.
Included in the traditional presentation were special gifts from Ms. Alamanda Lauti, the Campus Director of the Nauru Campus, who presented Tongan rare book collections. A representative of the Republic of Kiribati, Mr. Teraoi Ueara also presented a custom-engraved portrait for His Majesty, and HM the Queen. HM was quite exultant with the special presentations.
In a private audience, Tupou VI had bestowed a special name for the Tonga Collection, “Kuku Kaunaka” which means to hold on to a treasure from being lost.
In his deliberations, His Majesty, expressed his continued support for the University’s Tonga Campus, and shared special support for the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, with emphasis on the Mathematics as a strength for Tongan students.
He also alluded to the importance of the inclusion of specialised fields such as Information Technology, Marine Sciences and Agricultural research as crucial areas in Tonga’s development. King Tupou IV showed anticipation to visit the Tonga Campus to unveil and launch the Tonga Collection, which stores Tongan PhD theses from around the globe.
The event marked a special occasion for staff and students of the Tonga campus and the Institute of Education (IOE) with special inclusion of the Apifo’ou and Tailulu Colleges, who are part of the campus school based programme.
Senior Alumni members also participated in the traditional ceremony and were also actively involved in the preparations of the week-long celebrations.
Further to this, the occasion sealed a lingering memory and reminder of Tongan identity and core values that are foundational and pivotal for staff, students, and alumni of the University.
The weeklong celebration included a commemoration Church Service, (Church of Tonga, Kilikali), the launch of the Tonga collection, launch of the B.A. in Pacific Vernacular Language – Tonga & Niuafo’ou,Time capsule sealing, tree planting, an alumni parade, the Tonga Campus USP Alumni General meeting, launch of the Olokava Endowment fund and an aloha night to wrap up the week.
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