||Secondary School, boarding and day school for boys and girls
Piula College is part of the ministry of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Tonga and is located on the outskirts of Vaini.
BEULAH COLLEGE AND THE SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH IN
The first European Seventh-day Adventist missionary, E. H.
gates, came to Tonga in 1891. AJRead came along with him in the boat PITCAIRN.
They arrived at the capital city, NUKUALOFA. They both returned without
establishing the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. In 1895, E. Hilliard arrived to
start up the work here at Nukualofa.
In the year 1895, Mrs. Hilliard commenced a small Primary
School. This was the first known Seventh-day Adventist school in the Kingdom.
When the student enrollment exceeded the accommodation provided at the teachers
homes, they were moved into a separate school building 14ft. x 24ft.
Mr. and Mrs. S. Butz came from Pitcairn Island the following
year to help Mrs. Hilliard teach in this school, soon after this promising start
with up to 28 students, interest flagged and the school was closed.
On November 28, 1904; Mr. Ella Boyd, from Australia restarted
the school on a new piece of land acquired by the church at Mangaia, where the
mission headquarters still operates. During this time the school became
attractive to both Europeans and Tongans of high and low estate so that more
teachers came from Australia Nellie Sisley, Myra Ford amd Mrs. E Thorpe to
care for the growth in this school enrolment.
- At the end of 1906
Ella Boyd returned to Australia and was replaced by Nellie Sisley and in the
following year (1907) brought a flood of enrollments. Myra Ford arrived from
Australia to help Sisley cope with about sixty pupils.
- Ella Boyd returned to
Tonga in 1908 to pioneer the school at Faleloa and in the same year one of the
brighter boys at Mangaia School, Finau Vaemolo also known as Willie,
accompanied Palmer to Australia to help with the production of Bible Readings
for Home Circle and to gain some nurses training.
- Towards the end of
1908 Harold and Lily Piper arrived to replace Boyd at Faleloa. In the
following year the enrolment increased to over forty and hence one local
family vacated their large home to make room for a bigger school. Officially
the established Faleloa School was opened on July 2, 1909.
- At the end of 1909
Pofaiva Vaemolo who had been studying at Avondale College throughout 1909
returned to help teaching at Faleloa while Sisley assisted by Tuna continued
- The 1904-11 periods
in which mission activity centered almost entirely around the Nukualofa and
Faleloa schools was characterized by frequent staff changes. The nine
different teachers spent no more than two years of continuous service in any
one location and as a result by 1911 the education work was rapidly fading.
Very few were attending at Faleloa and there were only about eighteen pupils
at Nukualofa School.
- Hubert and Pearl
Tolhurst were located at Faleloa to revive the school and on March 29 they
began with thirty pupils and before long had reached capacity of forty
In 1918 there was an epidemic disease, which caused the death
of Mrs. Tolhurst and the return of H. L. Tolhurst to Australia. B. E. Hadfield
at Faleloa School replaced him. Soon after this the school was relocated at
Houma, on main Tongatapu Isalnd. At this time the numbers of missionaries and
school pupils were decreasing, but in 1921 the move was accomplished. Mr. E. E.
Thorpe was headmaster at Houma and by 1924 there were 16 boarding students.
In the latter part of 1924 Mr. C. S. Parler arrived to become
first Principal at Houma and at that time were 50 boarding students, four of
whom were female. Then Sione Latu, a student from Avondale College, Australia;
came to teach in this school. Students numbers grew until there was not enough
land to support them at this site, so a new location was required.
Mr. R. W. Smith sought this new land and aquired 80 acres at
Vaini, where Beulah College still stands. In 1926 Mr C. S. Palmer returned to
Australia for health reasons and Mrs Smith (the Presidents wife) filled his
position, until 1927, when L. H. Tolhurst returned, re-married.
In the beginning of 1928 Tolhurst became President of the
mission and B.E. Hadfield, Principal of Beulah. School standards and pupils
numbers steadily improved until 1933, when 3 students passed Government
Examinations. They were Lopeti Tinitolo, Ika Takau and Peni Finau.
Although these students did so well, Beulah was not yet
recognized as a College. In 1933, L. H. Tolhurst and P.E. Hadfield again
reversed roles. Under the leadership of L.H. Tolhurst in 1934, the school grew
and public exam results were so good that the Government Education Department
accepted this school standard and in 1937 it became officially known as Beulah
In 1938, A. E. Watts became Principal in place of Tolhurst;
more buildings were built and in 1939 HRH Queen Salote opened the Schoolhouse.
(It was at this time that Mrs. Watts designed and introduced the girls uniform,
which is still worn today.)
Because of World War 2, Europeans had to leave Tonga and
return to their home countries and Paula Halatoa Fua became the acting Principal
until the war was over. During the war years, because the materials were
unobtainable, the uniform was made from khaki material.
In 1945 J. Cerknik was called to be Principal and exam
results were really improved and during his Principalship, Queen Salote gave the
College 100 acres of land.
In 1951 A. H. Dawson came from Australia to replace J. Cennik
as Principal of a rapidly growing Beulah College. In 1955 the college bought
more land leased previously by Ramsey and D. Powell replaced A. H. Dawson. At
this stage the College went only as far as class 8 (or Form 2) and the only
public exam available for them was the Lower Leaving Certificate. It was
desirable to upgrade this offering to Tonga Higher Leaving Certificate and for
this purpose G. N. Sutcliff came on to the teaching staff from Australia. In
1959 E. Arthur replaced D. Powell and Iunisi Palu became the first student to
sit and pass Tonga Higher Leaving Certificate. As a result of this, many more
students enrolled and studies went right up to Form 4. In 1963, A. Sonter
replaced E. Arthur.
During the years of A. Sonter the school aimed at raising
standards to Form 5, New Zealand School Certificate. Unfortunately, before this
could be accomplished, A. Sonter was transferred to Fulton and his Deputy, P.
Trustcott became principal P. Trustcott, in spite of determined affort, also was
transferred to Fulton before this standard could be raised. Mr. Edgworth became
new Principal in 1972 and a small number of students was allowed to sit,
unsuccessfully, for New Zealand School Certificate. Soon after he returned and
his Deputy G. Hawke became Principal. In 1974 L. Hughes replaced G. Hawke for
only one year. These changes produced uncertainty and a decline in academic
performance. In 1975 David Sutcliffe took the position of Principal until 1977.
Neamani Tausere from Fiji, the first Pacific Islander to become Principal of
Beulah, stayed for only one year before taking further study in the
In 1979-1981 D. Caldwell, Principal of Beulah College, served
for a number of nine years. Tesimale Latu, the first Tongan Principal, from the
island of TUNGUA in the Haapai Group, replaced him. In the same year, 1982, the
result of the New Zealand School Certificate was most rewarding, and successive
years saw higher academic results and enrolments, both for Tonga Higher Leaving
In 1986 for the first time, students sat for the University
Entrance exam (From 6). There was a positive result as Vanessa A Latu passed all
her subjects. This has continued to improve until the present day.
After Tesimale Latus reign of six years, he traveled to
Australia for further study and Edgar Butler from Australia became acting
Principal for only one year.
In 1989 Edgar returned and Apisai Mahe became the second Tongan
Principal of this college. In 1992 Apisai left for further studies in New
Zealand and his position was filled by Mark Hansen.
||C. S. Palmer
||Mrs. R.W. Smith