Tonga, Tonga is a magnificently beautiful country. The Kingdom is a constitutional Monarchy, modeled after England and uses English law as its base. Located in the grand South Pacific, Tonga is between Tahiti and Fiji, an independent island nation in the southern Pacific Ocean, located approximately 650 km (approximately 400 mi) southeast of Fiji and approximately 1,850 km (approximately 1,150 mi) northeast of New Zealand. Tonga is the only remaining Polynesian monarchy. Nuku’Alofa is the country’s capitol, chief port, and largest town.
The Vava’u Island Group. This Cluster of islands, North of the Ha’apai Group, is the most spectacular in Tonga. Vava’u is Tonga’s northern island group, made up of over 60 high and thickly forested isles. An attractive, rather hilly main island surrounded by many others, Vava’u has high cliffs which combine to create many deep fiord-like bays. There are many good beaches but you will have to look for them. The main town of Neiafu is built on a hillside facing Port of Refuge Harbor, one of the best in the South Pacific.
Neiafu, the administrative capitol of the Vava‘u Island Group, is one of Tonga’s principal ports. Rich, volcanic soils help make agriculture the primary economic activity in the islands, and products include copra, vanilla, and pumpkins. Vava’u Island is rather large and has kilometer after kilometer of beautiful countryside making for some interesting bicycle rides.
THE VAVA'U ISLAND GROUP is the crown jewel of the safe, stable and benevolent Kingdom of Tonga. Vava'u is a large, reef protected, water playground of about 60 beautiful islands, each with its own interesting character, white sand beaches and all. Here is where you will experience "real" freedom, virtually no crime and true peace of mind. We don't have traffic lights and even the Police have no guns. Tourist come to experience nature in Vava'u for this is perhaps the last place on earth to which you can readily fly that is still unspoiled by runaway commercialism. In any event, life is as good as it gets in this land of emerald islands, crystal clear lagoons, azure seas and friendly people.
What makes Vava'u unique in all of the island groups of the world is the naturally protected island and reef system. The overlapping islands and surrounding reefs create a huge, island-filled sea within a sea that is more like a lake, creating a sea oasis. In most any weather you can travel in the normally calm inter-island waterways. Vava'u offers endless exploration of its treasures and ancient friendly villages.
On the island you will enjoy the tranquility and serenity of what only island life can offer. But, isolated you are not. There are two FERRYBOATS per week that run overnight trips from Vava'u's main port of Neiafu to the Capitol city of Tonga (about 160 miles and $25 US). AIR TRANSPORTATION will soon provide International direct to Vava'u from Fiji direct. Flights Fiji, NZ, and Australia are numerous from the Capitol, about a one-hour flight from Vava'u.
The islands are just now equipped with low-cost cell phone "wireless" service for general communications and Internet access from home. The South Pacific trade winds provide a constant gentle breeze. These same winds bring in cruising yachts from around the world to Vava'u island anchorages and to the main safe-harbour. As an extra special note, Humpback whales can commonly be found basking in Vava'u waters for months.
The Ha’apai island group consists of 60 islands most of which are low laying atolls. Ha’apai is definitely off the beaten track and a great place to escape all the stresses of the 21st century! The region is extremely traditional and has not really been touched by tourism, so this is a great place if you’re looking for a quiet, cultural, “back to basics” experience. As well as offering solitude, Ha’apai is a water lovers paradise. Accommodation is limited, so sit back, relax and enjoy “island life”.
Niuatoputapu Island Group, (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) meaning very holy coconut, is an island in the island nation of Tonga, Pacific Ocean. It is located in the north of the country, 300 km away from Vavaʻu near the border with Sāmoa. Its closest neighbour is the small island of Tafahi, only 9 km towards the north-northeast. There is an airport in Niuatoputapu, Mataʻaho airport, which is designated to accept international flights. The population of Niuatoputapu is about 1200. The inhabitants spoke formerly the Niuatoputapu language, but it has now been extinct for centuries. Now the inhabitants speak Tongan. Nevertheless Sāmoan, ʻUvean and Futunan elements can be noticed.
Older names for the island are Traitors island or Keppel island.
The central top of Niuatoputapu, just besides Vaipoa, is only a hill of 157 meter high. It is the eroded remnant of a large volcano, which erupted about 3 million years ago. The island is surrounded by a large reef, uplifted and largely covered with volcanic ash, which has yielded it a fertile soil.
Niuatoputapu consists primarily of three villages: Hihifo (meaning "west" in Tongan), Vaipoa, and Falehau. Hihifo is the largest village, and, as its name suggests, lies in the west of the island. It contains the majority of the governmental facilities of the island, including the post office, telecommunications, police station and a high school (there are primary schools in all 3 villages). Vaipoa lies in the middle of the island. To the east is Falehau, which contains Niuatoputapu's port.
THE TONGAN FLAG
The national flag of the Kingdom was formally adopted and raised for the first time in 1864 at Lifuka, Ha’apai. King George 1, upon the advice of his chiefs and Reverend George Baker, designed the national flag of Tonga. The flag is of simple design, a red flag with a white upper quadrant containing a red cross.
The flag has two colours white and red and symbolic of the church and the Government of Tonga. The red cross on white background stands for Christ the Saviour and the red for his blood shed to save Tonga and the world.
THE TONGAN COAT OF ARMS
The Tongan Coat of Arms is the same as the Great Seal that was first used in 1873 during the reign of King George Tupou 1. The Royal Standard comprised the seal motif superimposed on the Tongan flag. These symbols including the Crown were the concepts of Reverend Shirley Baker who was at the time King George Tupou 1’s private Counsellor.
The motto on the seal "Koe ‘Otua mo Tonga ko hoku Tofi’a" is translated as "God and Tonga are my Inheritance", the Cross, Crown, Dove and three (3) Swords were Reverend Baker’s design. This was first used towards the end of 1873 and it was not formally adopted until 1874.
The Three (3) Stars represent the three (3) main groups of islands in the Kingdom, namely Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u. King George Tupou I united these islands into one united Tonga. The Crown is a sign that the Kingdom of Tonga has become a nation. The dove holding in its mouth a leaf of olive stands for peace and unity achieved after years of internal conflicts and warfare. This concept was adopted from the Bible in which Noah had sent out the dove, after the great flood, and thus returned with the olive leaf. The three (3) swords represent the three dynasties which ruled Tonga, Tu’i Tonga, Tu’i Ha’atakalaua and Tu’i Kanokupolu.
The wreath around the Crown, made of Tahitian Chestnut leaves (Inocarpus edulis), is traditionally and formally worn by Tongans in appropriate occasion of begging pardon and forgiveness of the King.