Nuku Alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga

2019 HAL World Cruise

Saturday, February 23, 2019

 

Nuku Alofa, on the island of Tongatapu, is the capital of Tonga, an archipelago of 176 islands.  It is unique in the South pacific as the only country in the region that was never colonized.  In 1845, the islands united as a Kingdom and became a Constitutional Monarchy in 1875.  In 1900, Tonga signed a Treaty of Friendship with Britain and became a British protected state.  That explains its close ties to the British Royals; the profusion of Colonial architecture; the habit of driving on the left; and the fact that everyone speaks English!  In 1970, Tonga became a totally independent and sovereign nation, gaining UN membership in 1999.  Thus, it is the only surviving monarchy among the islands of the South Pacific.

Tonga is known as the “Friendly Islands.”  This nickname was bestowed by Capt. Cook in 1773.  To this day, the Tongans take pride in that and live up to it every single day.  I do not believe we have ever experienced the smiles, and good will of a populace as warmly as we did in Nuku Alofa!   Obviously, we enjoyed being here and hope to return.  I’ll let the photos tell the story:

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This is the view from the ship as we docked in Nuku Alofa, Tonga. Tour buses are lined up and awaiting our disembarkation. Those buildings in the foreground are the Ministry Building and Treasury.
We are greeted with a concert performed by the island Band.
We are greeted with a concert performed by the island Band.
Vendors line the walk into town.
Vendors line the walk into town.
We found the vendors at the port to be extremely expensive.
We found the vendors at the port to be extremely expensive.
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This is the “American Wharf” built during WWII to accommodate the supply ships that would arrive and pre-position war materiel for the Pacific station. The Seabees also built the Tongatabu Airfield.
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This is the War Memorial honoring the Tongans who lost their lives in both WWI And WWII. Tonga had formed a local defense force of about 2000 men who saw action in the Solomon Islands during WWII.
The military headquarters are still located in Nuku Alofa.
The military headquarters are still located in Nuku Alofa.
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The military headquarters serves a force of about 700 soldiers distributed over 3 different camps.The land forces are based at Taliai Camp near the airport. Marine soldiers are at Touliki Navy Base.
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The exclusive Royal Nuku Alofa Club. No golf course or polo grounds; snooker is the game of choice. This elite men’s club is a reflection of the old South Pacific. It is still a private club where the gentlemen come to relax and have a drink.
The Friends Cafe is a great place to stop for coffee or a snack.
The Friends Cafe is a great place to stop for coffee or a snack.
We stopped at the cafe for a cappuccino.
We stopped at the cafe for a cappuccino.
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The Tongan royalty were invited to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Walls of the Friends Cafe commemorate the event with photos of the Tongan delegation.
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Nobody ever mentions that Capt. Cook’s impression of the Tongans being so friendly was, for him, slightly erroneous. They treated him courteously as they planned ways to kill him!!!! He escaped.
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Christianity came to Tonga in the 1800s. This is the Basilica of St Anthony of Padua.
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Centenary Church is also known as the Royal Church. This is where the king and his family worship.
Centennial Church, Free Church of Tonga damaged by Cyclon Gita in 2018
Centennial Church, Free Church of Tonga damaged by Cyclon Gita in 2018
Malae Kula, Royal Tombs.
Malae Kula, Royal Tombs.
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The Ministry Building recently constructed in the colonial style and the Treasury Building built in 1928 in the same style.
The Prime Minister's Office is the oldest government building in Tonga.
The Prime Minister’s Office is the oldest government building in Tonga.
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The Royal Palace is the official residence of the King of Tonga. Erected in 1867, it was prefabricated in New Zealand and shipped to Nuku Alofa. The 2nd story veranda was added in 1882.
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Maketi Talamahu is a lively produce market. The Tongatapu climate is cool enough during the winter months that fruits and vegetables grow abundantly!
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Upstairs at the market are many stalls selling handcraft items, tapa cloth, and jewelry.
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We took our final photo as we headed back to the ship. The MS Amsterdam is preparing to depart Tonga one her way to New Zealand.

 

Now, we are on our way to Auckland, New Zealand.

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