Tongasat
About Tonga
Kingdom of Tonga
Tonga (meaning "South") was named the "Friendly Islands" by Captain Cook in 1773 because of the warm welcome received from the islanders.  Tongan people are Polynesians (meaning "many islands").  The modern-day Kingdom of Tonga was founded in 1875 by the adoption of a written constitution under Tonga's first constitutional monarch, His Majesty King George Tupou I.   The present monarch, His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV is the great-great grandson of HM Tupou I and is the 22nd King in the line of the Tu'i Kanokupolu Monarchy and the fourth monarch in the house of Tupou. His Majesty has been on the throne since 1965, although his coronation did not occur until 1967. He started his secondary education in Tonga at Tupou College and graduated with honours in 1932. His Christian name, Jiaoji Taaufa'ahau, may be found on the Tupou College honourboard for the year 1932. He went on to further studies and matriculated in Australia at Newington College, then continued his education and completed his BA, LLB at Sydney University. His Majesty is the first known Tongan to have graduated from a university.   Under the leadership and guidance of HM King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, Tonga has continued to develop its government, education and economy enabling Tonga to play its full part in the political and economic affairs of the Pacific region and beyond.   More details may be found on http://www.pmo.gov.to/

Geographical Location

The Kingdom of Tonga is located in the South Pacific Ocean, North-East of New-Zealand and East of Fiji, at Latitude 20 00 S and Longitude 175 00 W. Tonga consists of 170 islands in two parallel chains mainly of coral, although with a few volcanic, islands. Most of the larger islands are inhabited. Tonga is officially sub-divided into 5 sub-groups of islands, namely: Tongatapu, 'Eua, Ha'apai group, Vava'u Group and the Niua Islands. The capital, Nuku'alofa (meaning "Land-of-Love"), is located on Tongatapu - the main island.  A map of Tonga showing the main island groupings may be found here.

Getting to Tonga
Among other means, the beautiful islands of Tonga can be reached via air from New Zealand (Monday to Saturday) and Australia (Thursday) provided by the Royal Tongan Airlines new B757 aircraft.  Royal Tongan flights are also available via Fiji (Tuesday and Saturday) through a code share with Air Pacific on a B737 aircraft.   Other airlines, including Air New Zealand and Air Pacific, also operate regular scheduled services to Tonga.

Form of Government
The Tongan Government is a Constitutional Monarchy, that is, the king's power is limited by law. The current monarchy was originated in 1845 by King George (Siaosi) Tupou I following a major civil war among the island sub-groups. More information may be found at the Government of Tonga official website http://pmo.gov.to/

The King has in line 33 Nobles at his disposal, acting as his mediators to the people throughout the kingdom. The Nobles control the land distribution and facilitate the welfare of the people who occupy the land.

Language and People
Tongan people are known as Polynesians or Pacific Islanders. The national language is Tongan. English is the second language and is becoming more common as the official language. According to tradition, government documents are still published both in Tongan and English versions.

Population
The local population is about 100,000 and 100,000 more live abroad mainly in New Zealand, Australia and USA. The majority of the population (more than 60%) lives on the main island, Tongatapu, because infrastructures are better developed here than in the outer islands. About 5% of the local population is of other nationalities, mainly New Zealanders, Australians, Americans, British, Europeans, other Pacific Islanders and, more recently, Chinese immigrants. Statistics show that the local population is fairly stable partly because of a consistent flow of emigrants overseas mainly to New Zealand, Australia and USA.

Climate
Tonga has a very pleasant climate on the main island, Tongatapu. During winter months one still needs some warm clothes. For all-year round weather, Vava'u has a much warmer climate. For Tongatapu in the Autumn/Winter/Spring months (March to November) temperatures range from 10 C at midnight to 25 C at mid-day. At other times, temperatures around 20 C at mid-night to 39 C at mid-day is normal. Also relative humidity is high during the summer months (December, January and February). Occasionally the islands suffer from a severe hurricane or earthquake, the former being more frequent.

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