Social Studies Level 7, Resources
and economic activities:
TONGA NEW ZEALAND 1950
HOW AND WHY INDIVIDUALS AND
ORGANISATIONS GAIN ACCESS TO THE RESOURCES OF NATIONS OTHER THAN THEIR
OWN, AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS
Closeness of annexation
here to listen to this oral archive
Andrew Afeaki says:
I have no doubt we had a measure of luck (maintaining independence whilst
other Pacific Islands became colonies). We came pretty close to annexation.
England by then had had enough on its plate. The Empire was a huge cost
to the Treasury; I don’t think they wanted the added cost of Tonga,
despite the push by British traders here in Tonga.
Siu Ki Moana Exhibit
says about Tonga’s Staunch Independence:
Tonga’s staunch independence
as an island state is unique in the Pacific. It had formal and informal
relationships with other nations in the 1800s, but never succumbed to
official annexation by any other power.
Some countries did however
join partnerships with Tonga during the nineteenth century in various
ways: a treaty with Germany in 1876 included the establishment of a naval
coaling station in Tonga’s most accommodating harbour, Vava’u;
one with Great Britain called the Treaty of Friendship was negotiated
in 1878-1879. Another treaty with America, ratified in 1888, allowed the
United States Navy access to Tongan harbours and the right to establish
repair and coaling facilities in Tongan waters.
Throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth century there was interest
by different parties for the formal liaison of Tonga with, e.g. the Dominion
of New Zealand and even Fiji; meanwhile there was continual pressure for
the annexation of the Kingdom of Tonga to Great Britain.
In a compromising move, Basil Thomson was sent in 1900 as a special envoy
from Britain to convince Tupou II to accept British protection from “external
hostile attacks” against the Kingdom. Thomson had represented the
Crown in Tonga years earlier, and was familiar with the personalities
and tensions that existed there.
King George Tupou II reluctantly
signed a document in May of 1900 establishing protectorate status by “Her
Brittanic Majesty” over the Kingdom of Tonga.
and New Zealand
Source: Anthony Haas personal
collection. Photo by Mart Friedlander, 1978
Occupants of and advisers
to Tonga's Royal Palace managed to prevent the ancient Polynesian Kingdom
becoming a colony during the 1800s and early 1900s - in an era when its
neighbours were colonised by European or American interests.