5 Mar 2016

New king on Futuna hoped to appease family tensions

11:29 am on 5 March 2016

A new king will be inducted in the kingdom of Sigave on the French Pacific island of Futuna on Saturday after a seven-year vacancy.

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A traditional chieftain's ceremony in Futuna. Photo: AFP

The territory's public broadcaster said Eufenio Takala would be crowned in a custom ceremony amid high tensions between the kingdom's two families.

That tension last month prompted chiefs to ask the French president, François Hollande, to desist from making his first visit to Sigave as part of his tour around France's Pacific territories.

The French president, François Hollande, meets a chief from the kingdom of 'Alo on Futuna. Family tensions prevented him from going to Sigave.

The French president, François Hollande, meets a chief from the kingdom of 'Alo on Futuna. Family tensions prevented him from going to Sigave. Photo: AFP

In recent weeks there have been scuffles between the families after church services, which prompted police to intervene.

However, it is hoped the enthronement of Mr Takala will appease the families after previous attempts to install a king in recent years failed.

The territory of Wallis and Futuna, to the north of Fiji, has three separate kingdoms that rule alongside the French republic.

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Photo: AFP