Convictions

The people of the Kingdom of Tonga can be very stubborn when they choose to be, or be deeply committed to a cause depending which way you prefer to take it.

Pride runs deep, and differing situations bring forth different identities for pride, but the common bond for Tongans are the actions of the 1st King of Tonga. At Pouono, Vava’u, the King’s enlightment was declared in his dedication of all of Tonga to God’s ownership and protection.

The essence of the dedication is that all humanity (at least in Tonga) are beholden to God and under his sufference/law. Under God, all people are created equal, and are equally responsible to God under law.

As in other feudal societies that eventually rose up to overthrow the ruling hierarchy, the commoners/peasants were treated as no better than common cattle, animals. Unlike other feudal societies, Tupou 1 chose to enact changes within his own authority.

It can’t be underestimated what it means to a populace to be universally freed from emancipation, indentured servitude. Where the nobility once ruled over life and death, they were now overseers of the King’s land, under the same constraints/laws of the land. The people were guaranteed rights and means for survival through explicit changes and promotions for Education and Land.

The challenges faced by King Tupou I resonates with Tonga even as it voluntarily moved to greater autonomy (greater democratic elections) of the people from the inherited land owners. Two things became part of Tonga’s ethos, convictions.

The following pages can only be a simplification of some of the things important to our small nation and in part reflects the bias to which the authors have been involved.