Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Gunnedah Shire will again host royalty next week to mark the first anniversary of the Shire’s Sister City Relationship with Kolomotu’a, in the Kingdom of Tonga.

A delegation led by Her Royal Highness Princess Angelika Lātūfuipeka Tukuʻaho, the High Commissioner of the Kingdom of Tonga to the Commonwealth of Australia, will be in Gunnedah from Friday, July 14, to Monday, July 17.

Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey said the celebration of the first year of this special relationship would cement the ties between the two regions, and was an opportunity to raise money for a new library for the Government Middle School of Kolomotu’a.

“A Gunnedah Shire delegation of business representatives, community and Council members visited Kolomotu’a in the Kingdom of Tonga in October last year, a visit that was designed to help us better understand how to progress the relationship and achieve our joint vision,” Cr Chaffey said.

“The four key areas we are pursuing in our partnership are arts and culture, sports, education and employment and the economy.”

“This visit will help in strengthening those partnerships, with tours of agricultural businesses, a mine, aged care and education facilities.”

“This will also be an opportunity for Gunnedah Shire residents to see the Princess and help celebrate the Sister City relationship.”

Princess Angelika is expected to be in attendance at the Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce Gala Ball on Saturday, July 15 at the Town Hall, at a special Welcome Event at Wolseley Park at 9.30am on that day, and a Combined Church Service at Gunnedah Town Hall at 11am on Sunday, July 16.

There will also be a farewell event at Pensioners Hill Lookout with a picnic lunch at 12.45pm on the Sunday and members of the public are welcome to attend. The picnic lunch will be by gold coin donation, or people are invited to bring their own lunch – and a picnic rug or chairs. Money raised will go to the Middle School of Kolomotu’a.

There are various events being held to raise money for a new library for the Government Middle School of Kolomotu’a. School principal Lose Kuluka said the school’s library was destroyed in the devastating tsunami in January 2022.

“Having a library after it was damaged by a tsunami would be a huge accomplishment for our school,” Lose said.

“The loss of a library was terrible since it served as the foundation of knowledge, learning and curiousity.”

“Having a library would be a triumph and victory over difficulty and hardship.”

The Gunnedah Shire delegation visited the school in October and were touched by the joy and resilience of both the students and staff, who were continuing school life despite the challenges.

The Gunnedah community are invited to join the celebrations and help this wonderful Sister City relationship to grow.

Where you can see the delegation from Kolomotu’a:

  • Welcome Event at the Wolseley Park rotunda at 9.15am on Saturday, July 15
  • At the rugby union game at Gunnedah Rugby Club at 2pm on Saturday, July 15
  • At the Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce Gala Ball on Saturday, July 15 at the Town Hall (tickets available through https://www.gunnedah.org.au/event-details/gunnedah-chamber-of-commerce-gala-ball)
  • At the Combined Church Service at the Town Hall at 10am on Sunday, July 16
  • At the Farewell Event and Barbecue at Pensioners Hill Lookout at 12pm on Sunday, July 16 – bring your lunch and picnic rug, or enjoy lunch for a gold coin donation. Funds raised will go to a new library for the Government Middle School of Kolomotu’a.

The visit is just the beginning of fundraising opportunities to assist in healing for Kolomotu’a following the tsunami.

Top image: Gunnedah Mayor Jamie Chaffey, Her Royal Highness Princess Angelika Lātūfuipeka Tukuʻaho and young people from Gunnedah during the royal visit for the signing of the Sister City Agreement last year.

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