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Decision made by the Heilala Festival committee to remove Kalo Funganitao from the record as Miss Heilala 2018/2019 causes widespread reaction

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 12/07/2019

The decision made by the Heilala Festival Committee to remove Kalolaine Funganitao’s name from the record as Miss Heilala 2018/2019 has caused a public commotion.

This morning, Radio Tonga News was in Nuku’alofa and talked with members of the public and they do not support the decision made by the Heilala Committee.

Malia Sime of Nakolo, Viliami Fotu of Tu’akatakilangii, and Tupou Tufui from Houma who say – they feel for Kalo and that the decision made by the Committee should be addressed in a more professional way including seeking legal advice from experts before removing the Miss Heilala title 2018/2019 from Kalolaine Funganitao.

However, various people support the decision made by the committee and includes Inoke Mafile’o of Kolofo’ou who says their decision was done in a fair and just maner.

Yesterday, the President of the Tonga Tourism Association – Sosaia Moehau said the committee agreed to remove the title of Miss Heilala 2018-2019 from Funganitao, reasoning that she had returned the crown before the crowning of the new Miss Heilala for this year, and secondly because she did not fulfill her duty in crowning the new Miss Heilala 2019-2020.

The Heilala Festival Committee have now recorded the first runner up – Lupe Vete as the Miss Heilala 2018-2019.

The committee explained they had tried to contact Funganitao regarding their decision but was not available.

However, they were able to contact Lupe Vete and the committee announced that she had graciously accepted the title of Miss Heilala 2018-2019, although the reign of that Miss Heilala is now over.

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