14 November 2011.
Mr. Mateaki-kihe-Lotu Heimuli, 58, former Deputy Secretary for the Government of Tonga's Ministry of Information and Communications, and one of Tonga's renowned media personalities and broadcasters, has sadly passed away last Thursday on November 10.
Radio and TV Broadcasting career
From an early career in Radio and TV announcer at the Tonga Broadcasting Commission's (TBC) Mateaki hailed as one of Tonga's pioneer generation of radio broadcasting, following the trend set by top broadcasters, the late Tavake Fusimalohi and ‘Uliti Palu, since the establishment of the TBC in the early 1960s.
Born on November 22, 1952, Mateaki has his brush with broadcasting, in 1984-1985, when he undertake training in Munich, Germany in the German language, at Radio Deutsche Welle, Cologne, as part of the Tonga - Germany Treaty. For years that followed, he went on to study Radio and TV Broadcasting under a scholarship offered by the Parliament of Hamburg, Germany.
With a natural talent and passion for broadcasting, Mateaki, has filled the roles of Radio reporter, announcer and producer, after attending various media training programs in Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia, as well as other Pacific Island Countries, in Marketing and Production.
For nearly three decades from 1972 until the early 2000s, Mateaki has served in the Tonga Broadcasting Commission.
Most popular and will be remembered for one of his longest running programs on Radio Tonga, "Ko Mamani mo Hono Ngaahi Me'a Fakaofo" (The Wonderous World), Mateaki has been the familiar voice and host of this weekly broadcast.
Among his most important work at the Commission, was the introduction of new programs on radio to include sports, politics and current affairs, where he produced and presented in addition to launching of daily news bulletin.
In 2002, Mateaki took up the post of Editor from Paua Manu'atu (Tuisoso), to manage the state-owned Weekly newspaper, the Tonga Chronicle (Kalonikali Tonga), the only bilingual newspaper since 1964. Over the next five years, Mateaki was responsible for the development of the Chronicle by bringing in new improvements to office furnishing, media and computer equipment including capacity building for the Chronicle staff.
Government Information Agency
Mateaki's latest post was as Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Information, when this new portfolio was appointed to the Lord Tu'anekivale (Hon. Afu'alo Matoto) in 2007. Since the establishment of the Ministry in 2009, under Former Minister, Hon. ‘Eseta Fusitu'a, Mateaki has been serving as Head of the Information Department of the Ministry until his retirement in late September this year.
Since 2008, and during his leadership, Mateaki has merged the experience he had gained from radio, TV and newsprint, to oversee a new era of information mass media by working together with his staff and the Ministry to implement the Government's new initiative to dissemination information online.
This was evident from the launching of the Government's official Information and news website, from the Tongareport website (www.tongareport.to) in 2008, to the Ministry of Information (www.minfo.gov.to) to the present website of the Ministry, the Tonga Government Portal (www.mic.gov.to) which has now reached an overwhelming vast online audience at both local and international level today.
At this time, Mateaki also led media committees' liaison on behalf of the Government, for regional meetings like the Pacific Forum and His Majesty's Coronation in 2008.
Recenly, Mateaki also represented Tonga in workshops and training on ICT and E-government, in the Republic of Korea and Australia.
Mateaki's legacy is a valuable milestone for the Tongan media and the next generation of journalists and public relations personalities to learn from today.
Today, the Ministry of Information and Communications wishes to pay tribute to Mateaki-he-lotu Heimuli, for his effortless dedication and service under the Prime Minister of Tonga, Lord Tu'ivakano, and for his invaluable contribution to the Government of Tonga.
Mateaki will be laid to rest today, Tuesday 15 November, 2011, and he is survived by his wife Palu their eight children and grandchildren.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011.