Tonga

  • Audio
  • Tongan Lore - In Audio The only extensive (known to these pages) work of diverse range of story-tellers, settings was made by Richard Moyle between 1973-5. Richard Moyle’s collection covered 62 villages on Tongatapu, Ha’apai, Vava’u, Niuatoputapu and Niuafo’ou. The reader interested in hearing the stories accentuated by story-tellers, including the fakatangi (sung verses) should contact either the author or Radio Tonga. Radio Tonga holds the widest collection of audio recordings available in the Kingdom and for a number of years had broadcast a number of Richard Moyle’s recordings.
  • Print
  • Tongan Lore - In Print Although titles are used to differentiate stories in these collections, readers should be aware that no formal title is attributed by the story tellers or their audience to these stories when recounted. Books with further stories of possible interest to readers include: Gifford, Tongan Myths and Tales, 1924 Collocott, Tales & Poems of Tonga, 1928 Fanua, Fananga, 1975 Fanua, Po Tatala, 1982 Moyle, Fananga, 1995 Staff at the Friendly Islands Bookshop indicate another volume is being published by Richard Moyle which should be out later in 1997.
  • Video
  • Talent and availability are seeing more Tongans publishing various types of ‘Tonga’ content on the Internet. As we continue to review these pages, we’ll include as much relevant ‘non-text’ content. Some have been produced by the kind folks here. Malosi Pictures
  • 'Aho'eitu
  • ‘Aho’eitu the first Tu’i Tonga This story is about the first Tu’i Tonga, ‘Aho’eitu. A video presentation by Malosi Pictures There was a chief from Niue who wanted his daughter, ‘Ilaheva to marry a Tongan. He commanded his servants to take his daughter to Tonga, so they departed to Tonga in a canoe. When they passed Vava’u she didn’t want to stay there because Vava’u had a mountain.
  • Massacre at Hule
  • The massacre at Hule Many Tongan young men wear t-shirts with pictures of Polynesian warriors on the back with big muscles who stand in front of the Haamonga-A-Maui holding a snake with the words ‘Ivi Kehe’ written on the back. By wearing these shirts they are honoring their Polynesian warrior tradition. I think that if one of those warriors came to the homes of the young men that these young men would be really surprised.
  • Dies for another
  • Dies for another In 1797, Tukuaho became the Tuikanokupolu. Because he had the title of Tuikanokupolu he was the supreme chief of Tonga. Tukuaho was a cruel man. After two years of his rule two chiefs of Vavau, Finau ‘Ulukalala and Tupouniua, decided that they would assassinate Tukuaho on the night of the ‘Inasi ritual. The plan was for Tupouniua to go into the house of Tukuaho at night with a club.
  • Little things/Big things
  • Little things/Big things In 1800 the warriors from the Hihifo district of Tongatabu fought the people of the Hahake district. When Hihifo won, they erected a monument in Hahake to commemorate their victory. This was a monument to the idea that small things can lead to big things. This monument was not made of stone or wood, it was of bodies of the people of Hahake who had been killed in this war.
  • Seketoa and Niuatoputapu
  • Seketoa watches over Niuatoputapu These are some stories from Niuatoputapu. There is this shark-spirit who lives in the sea around Niuatoputapu who is named Seketoa. The descendants of Maatu, the chief of Niuatoputapu have the right to call on Seketoa and Seketoa will help them. When Maatu wants to speak with Seketoa he sends out his matapules (assistants) and they throw some kava root into the sea. Then two remoras will come to the kava roots.
  • Niukapu
  • Niukapu During the time of King Taufaahau there was a chief in Tonga named Niukapu. For some reason Taufaahau wanted to kill Niukapu. The only way that Niukapu could save himself was to flee to a fale hufanga, a sanctuary house. These houses were actually temples that were dedicated to gods. Because of the sacredness of these houses one could not simply go into the house to capture a fugitive who was staying in that house.
  • Sinilau mo Hina
  • Sinilau mo Hina There was chief named Sinilau who lived in Tonga. He heard about the beauty of a young woman named Hina so he sailed to her country and brought her back to his and married her. Sometime after this Hina became pregnant. Sinilau had many wives and they were jealous of Hina because Sinilau loved her so much. One of the wives was a witch and she came to Hina one day and told Hina to go and ask Sinilau to get a one-eyed bonito fish.
  • Tongapoteki
  • Tongapoteki: The War Chief of Taufaahau There was a man in Koloa named Tongapoteki. He was the son of Saipa Toamotu and Sialemoepua. His mother, Sialemoepua, was from Nukuleka in Tongatabu. Saipa Toamotu’s father was Galumoetutulu and his mother was Kafuatumaluouiha who was descended from the chiefs of Uiha. Because of his ancestry, Tongapoteki was a cousin of Taufa’ahau, the king of Tonga. In 1837, Taufa’ahau was not yet the king of Tonga.
  • Toakuomotu
  • Toakuomotu: The Chief Who Said No. One of Tongapoteki’s ancestors was Toakuomotu. He was a toa (warrior) for Ulukalala. This was a bad thing because Ulukalala did not care about right and wrong. Ulukalala cared about power. There were some chiefs in Vavau who opposed Ulukalala. So Ulukalala told Toakuomotu to kill them. Although Toakuomotu must have feared Ulukalala, he would not kill those chiefs. Ulukalala commanded some of his other toas to kill those chiefs.
  • Folau a Kae
  • Ko e Folau a Kae: The Journey of Kae Once on the island of Tonga, in the remotest antiquity there was a chief named Loau. He had two matapule (servants): Kae and Longopoa who he commanded to prepare his canoe. Loau, his two servants and his servants' relatives sailed to the tafatafakilangi, the place where the sky meets the sea. Then Loau ordered the canoe to be sailed into the whirlpool at the horizon.
  • Maui Atalanga
  • Maui Atalanga Pushes Up the Sky In the old days the sky was so low that when people walked they had to lean over so that their heads would not bump against the sky. One day when Maui Atalanga was coming back from Pulotu he passed a spring that is in Koloa that is called Tofoa. Because it was the middle of the day it was hot and Maui Atalanga was thirsty.
  • Koloa Island
  • The Nickname of Koloa Island Koloa belonged to the Tuitonga (The ‘Tonga King’ Chiefs). There was this one Tuitonga named Fuanuinuiava who had a daughter. This Tuitonga would visit Koloa. One day his daughter was bathing and when she came out of the water her hair clung to her body and a fisherman saw the beauty of her hair and he exclaimed, “Haafuluhau! (Descended from the perfect hair!) From that name is derived a nickname of Koloa.
  • Maui Kisikisi and fire
  • Maui Kisikisi brings fire from the underworld There was a man named Maui Motu’a who lived in Pulotu (the land underneath the land). Maui Motu’a had a son named Maui Atalanga who traveled between Pulotu and Koloa, because he was married to a woman from Koloa island. Maui Atalanga had a son named Maui Kisikisi who never went to Pulotu and always stayed in Koloa. In those days there was no fire on the land; the only fire was in Pulotu.
  • Stars guided
  • Stars guided the voyages In about 1820 Taufaahau, the future king of Tonga, went to Samoa to be tattooed. As he was returning from Samoa he and the people journeying with him became lost. They did not know if should they go south, east, west or north to get to Tonga. This was very serious because if they did not find land then they would die of thirst at sea.
  • Sangone
  • Sangone the Turtle and the Royal Mats A long time ago, a man called Lekapai lived in Samoa. In his garden, he grew breadfruit, plantains, bananas, yam, taro and many other kinds of ruit and vegetables. Then, as time went on, there was a great hurricane, and his plantation was almost ruined. After it was over, Lekapai set to work to replant his gardens. But alas, there was another hurricane the next year, and the next, so that three food crops were destroyed one after the other.
  • Creation
  • The Creation Myth In the beginning there was just the sea, and the spirit world, Pulotu; and between them was a rock called Touia’o Futuna. On the Rock lived Biki and his twin sister, Kele, ‘Atungaki and his twin sister, Maimoa’o Longona, Fonua’uta and his twin sister, Fonuavai, and Hemoana and his twin sister, Lupe. Biki lay with his own sister and she bore him two children, a son, Taufulifonua, and a daughter, Havea Lolofonua; ‘Atungaki also lay with his sister and she bore him a daughter, Velesi’i.
  • Glossary
  • Glossary of Terms found in Tongan Stories Notes: Plover: A plover is a shore bird. It generally has a round head, straight bill, and large pointed wings. In Tonga it is known as the ‘kiu’. Kao and Tofua: Kao and Tofua are two islands formed from volcanic activities. The two islands are part of the Ha’apai Group. The island Tofua is elsewhere known in maritime history as the island off which the crew of the British ship “Bounty” mutineed and cast overboard their ignomious leader, Captain Bligh.