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Where On Earth Is The Kingdom of Tonga?


Ever since taking an anthropology class at university, and reading about the Kingdom of Tonga, I had longed to go there.


 Kingdom of Tonga


Anthropology of the Kingdom of Tonga


Reading that the bigger you are in Tonga, the more prestige you have, shocked me. There was also something about cultural sexual norms hundreds of years ago that included encouraging teenagers to experiment with both sexes. Interesting.  And many many years ago – cannibalism was the norm in Tonga.


The people were family oriented, gentle and super friendly! Then there was the intrigue of pristine, crowd-less and peaceful Polynesian islands. I wanted to go there for a long time and it did not disappoint. The Kingdom of Tonga is still beautifully untouched and largely undiscovered.

Keleti Resort, Nuku'alofa - Secret Beach 8

  Kingdom of Tonga


Last Kingdom in the South Pacific


Tonga is the last Kingdom in the South Pacific. That is, it is the only South Pacific island to avoid colonization, a fact that is the source of much pride among Tongans. The present King, George Tupou V, though more democratic than earlier kings, follows the traditional structure of commoners, nobility, and above all royalty. The royal title is to be passed down from father to eldest son.

The Kingdom of Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga


The Kingdom of Tonga (don’t you love the grand sound of that?) is an archipelago of 176 Polynesian islands. 52 of the islands remain uninhabited. The unspoiled beauty of island after island surrounded by crystal clear turquoise waters is simply jaw-dropping.

The Kingdom of Tonga

  Kingdom of Tonga


The people are a little shy but with easy natural smiles, and have a genuine warmth in conversing. These girls were just sitting in the ocean water picking and eating clams.

The Kingdom of Tonga

  Kingdom of Tonga


Traditions in Tonga


Family is the central unit of Tongan life. Core values include mutual respect (Fefaka’apa’apa’aki), sharing, cooperating and mutual obligations (Feveitokai’aki), humility and generosity (Lototoo), and loyalty and commitment (Tauhi vaha’a). Village life remains much the same as it always has been.

The Kingdom of Tonga IMG_0384



The traditional dress (woven waist mats), the most respectful form of dress in the Kingdom, are still commonly worn for church, weddings, funerals and other special occasions.

Tongan Women in Ceremonial Dress

Traditional Waist Mats

Talihau Church, Tonga

Talihau Church, Tonga

Tongan Man and Woman in Ceremonial Dress

The Kingdom of Tonga


The Kingdom of Tonga IMG_0427

  Kingdom of Tonga


Although it might astonish North American men, many Tonga men wear wrap skirts in their daily lives because skirts are much cooler than pants in the warm sun. Smart, we say.

The Kingdom of Tonga

 Kingdom of Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga

 Men wear skirts in Tonga


Fish and vegetables are still cooked in earth ovens called Umus, and the ceremonial tradition of Kava drinking continues as a very real part of Tongan life. See post  Tonga: Invitation To A Kava Ceremony

Tongan men drinking somewhat intoxicating and traditional Kava in daily Kava Ceremony.

Tongan men drinking somewhat intoxicating and traditional Kava in daily Kava Ceremony.


No longer true now, Tongans once revered fat people. The larger you were, the more prestige you had. They are still very large people. In fact T, who is considered a big man at home, with broad shoulders and muscular thighs, looked small beside most Tongan men!

Tongan Man Dressed for Chuch 2

 Big men in Kingdom of Tonga


Genuine and Unspoiled Tonga


Genuine, authentic and unspoiled, Tonga is one of the last South Pacific Islands that has remained virtually the same for the last 1000 years. Oh, it has cell phones and internet now, and they are no longer cannibals, but the culture and people and traditions remain the same.

The Kingdom of Tonga IMG_4743

 Fire Dancers, Tonga 



We never did find out about some things, like the truth of being bigger in Tonga equating to more prestige, or anything about the cultural sexual norms hundreds of years ago that included encouraging teenagers to experiment with both sexes. And Tongans openly laugh about cannibalism, sometime with a teasing wink. We loved their sense of humour.


The Kingdom of Tonga.  Peace. Beauty. Tranquility. And Humour.

The Kingdom of Tonga IMG_0773

  Kingdom of Tonga


* This post originally published June 2013 on Travel To Little Known Places


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Originally posted 2016-10-27 10:00:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Where On Earth Is The Kingdom of Tonga?

  1. Marnee says:

    O – the bigger the better – lol/such fun

  2. essd2013 says:

    Yes, I agree!

  3. Ashraf says:

    I enjoyed reading the stories behind the pictures!

  4. travellittleknownplaces says:

    Excellent. Thank you for taking time to comment!

  5. Diana says:

    I want to go!!!! Where do I sign up?! lol Sounds so beautiful and peaceful!

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