Papua Niugini (nee: New Guinea) has played host to many a Tongan missionaries, and in the modern era has been the starting point for many Tongan students. Missionary records (written by the papalangi) makes little mention of the works and efforts of islander missionaries (termed native teachers) although in many cases it was the native teacher who tended the flock, brought the Christian message to the people.
The opportunity for the Tongan Christian missionary to work in Papua Niugini is an opportunity to follow ones faith, and to visit a land to which Tongans and other islanders are better prepared for servicing (the physical labour, isolation) than the papalangi brethren.
This westernised wedding ceremony is being held by a Tongan missionary who served in Bougainville, up to and through many years of the ‘rebellion’ that has cost real lives, beyond the political ramifications. Not only have Tongans brought their faith to these islands, Tongans have also brought much of their traditions and values. The Faikava is not an odd sight in many of the PNG villages, and there are many children with Tongan names as respect by the parents for their outer island visitors.
PNG continues to be an opportunity for Tongan missionaries to serve their God, and for students to learn at higher institutions.
[ref: Photographs © and used courtesy of ‘Emalu’isa Taufa]