HRH at the age of 14 breaks the Tongan pole vault record
The late Monarch His Majesty King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, was always a keen and active enthusiast for sporting, physical and outdoor pursuits. He was blessed with the height, strong bone structure and muscular frame of His forebears.
The late King’s Father, Tungi Mailefihi Royal Consort of Queen Salote Tupou III, was an exceptionally strong and physically powerful man. Queen Salote was a regally striking woman whose physical height (she was over six feet tall) only enhanced Her immediately identifiable aristocratic presence and ‘mana’.
HM Queen Salote
The late Monarch inherited many of the qualities of His parents and forebears. He was a strikingly handsome aristocrat and in His younger unmarried days, He was one of the Pacific’s most eligible bachelors.
The King focussed on His education, He was very capable and studious. Testament to His commitment to responsibilities and drive to succeed is the fact that the late King was the first Tongan to gain a University Degree. A song was composed specifically for the late King to celebrate His BA/LLB conjoint degrees from Newington College in Sydney.
King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV as Prince Tungi and Prince Tu'ipelehake
His was not the life of luxury that many would have expected of one who would one day be King. In fact, the King in an interview with the author Nelson Eustice insisted in His biography that He was not spoilt.
Tuita left & Vaea on the right
As the eldest child, the late King was not spoilt or specially favoured by his parents. He was a highly active child. In His biographical book on the late King, Nelson Eustis writes:
“The Crown Prince must have been born a sportsman. He was the live wire of the palace, ever anxious to practice his athletic skills. When 12 his indoor gymnastic experiments came to a sudden halt when he crashed to the palace floor accompanied by the ornate chandelier on which he was swinging.”
On the 24th of September 1932, at the age of fourteen, the young Prince had broken the existing Pole vaulting record by four inches (His vault was over ten feet). This record stood unbroken for many years. The young Prince loved the outdoors and in particular going to the beach. He was a keen surfer. Like a colossus astride His board, balancing wind and waves, He carved His way through the peaks and troughs. This was a skill that manifested also in His early adult years and throughout His reign.