Her Royal Highness Princess Angelika Latufuipeka Tuku’aho, the High Commissioner of the Kingdom of Tonga to the Commonwealth of Australia, was officially welcomed on her second return visit to Gunnedah.

The Wolseley Park ceremony on Saturday also marked 12 months since the signing of Gunnedah’s sister city agreement with Kolomotu’a in Tonga.

Gunnedah shire mayor Jamie Chaffey addressed the community and gave thanks for their helping to celebrate the milestone which will bring “significant change for generations to come”.

He said the partnership will pursue four key areas including arts and culture; sports; education as well as employment and the economy.

Cr Chaffey said the large delegation from Tonga included the mayor of Kolomotu’a and the principal of the Government Middle School of Kolomotu’a which was damaged by a tsunami in January 2022. 

Last weekend’s royal visit to Gunnedah formed part of a fundraising mission to help build a new school library which was destroyed by the disaster.

Gifts were exchanged between the mayor and Her Royal Highness to mark the 12-month anniversary of the new sister city partnership.

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton attended the welcome ceremony and said it was a “great privilege” to be part of the occasion.

He highlighted the importance of Gunnedah’s role in the fostering the connections with Australia’s international neighbours.

“Australia is very much a nation of the Pacific and the relationships we have are very important,” Mr Coulton said.

“I see this relationship (Gunnedah and Kolomotu’a) as beneficial for both countries.

“It is a great initiative and congratulations to all involved.”

While in Gunnedah, the royal delegation also took part in the Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce Gala Ball on Saturday evening and farewell barbecue at Pensioners Hill on Sunday, among other activities.

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