Social Studies Level 3, Social
TONGA NEW ZEALAND 1950
HOW LEADERSHIP OF GROUPS IS ACQUIRED AND EXERCISED
Queen Salote and New Zealand
here to listen to this oral archive
Andrew Afeaki says:
In 1950 the Tongans knew that Queen Salote had spent some years going
to school in New Zealand. Prior to that Tupou II had spent a bit of time
in New Zealand. By 1950 a few had gone off on scholarships to New Zealand,
including Baron Vaea (subsequently a Tongan Prime Minister). Baron Tuita
(subsequently a Tongan Trade Minister) had gone for studies in New Zealand
in the late 30s.
The NZ forces came here, the engineers, at the beginning of World War
II and established the airport at Fua’amotu, the airbase that is
now the international airport. The Americans took over in a big way for
a while, but they eventually left, and the New Zealanders stayed on to
tidy up the end of World War II in Tonga.
I am not aware of strong feelings either way. The King himself had gone
to Newington College in Sydney and then to Sydney university to do his
double degree in law and arts. New Zealand existed, and Tongans had been
to New Zealand.
We still have that very unique situation in the Pacific where Tonga celebrates
the public holiday ANZAC Day here – because a whole bunch of Tongans,
got on a ship, came done to New Zealand, enlisted in the NZ Army and were
at Gallipoli, in that battle, celebrated on ANZAC Day. We still do that.
There may have been larger consciousness. But New Zealand existed for
me as a place to go for higher education.
Maori and Tongan leaders contact
Source: Photo by T Collins, held at Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington
Tongans and New Zealanders
shared common cause with other allies during the second World War - and
that led to changes that endured years later. Sailors from the Royal New
Zealand Navy ship Rotoiti are pictured here with Tongans at Neiafu, Vava'u,
at the end of that war, 1939-1945