|Elevation||3 m (10 ft)|
|Highest elevation||6 m (20 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
| • Estimate |
|Time zone||UTC+13 (–)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+14 (–)|
Nukuʻalofa is the capital of Tonga. It is located on the north coast of the island of Tongatapu, in the country's southernmost island group.
On 10 June 1777, British captain James Cook wrote of his arrival at their anchorage place. His description of the place confirmed, with his map, that this was the bay of Nukuʻalofa.
Cook never used the name Nukualofa or any other spelling for the reports of this voyage, but he mentioned the island of Pangaimodoo (Pangaimotu) which was to the east of his anchorage position. Captain Cook also wrote that he travelled by canoes to visit Mooa (Muʻa) where Paulaho and other great men lived. The house that Paulaho provided was on the beach 500 metres (1⁄3 mi) from the ship. Reference to his map shows that he must have landed and stayed in the Siesia area, the eastern part of modern Nukuʻalofa. Cook also drafted the first map of the bay of Nukuʻalofa.
The first written record for Nukuʻalofa is stated in the first dedicated book for Tonga by George Vason which was published in 1810. George Vason was an English missionary from the London Missionary Society, who arrived in Tonga in 1797. George Vason wrote of their arrival that:
That was the first mention of Nukuʻalofa, spelled as Noogoollefa. Vason's unusual spelling of Nukuʻalofa and Pangaimotu (as "Bongy-Moddoo") was because the standard Tongan alphabet would not be developed until 1826-27.
The second oldest book dedicated to Tonga was by William Mariner, adopted son of Fīnau ʻUlukālala, which was published in 1817. Mariner described his experiences during the years he was the adopted son of ʻUlukālala (1806–1810). He described the civil war and the siege of the Fort of Nukuʻalofa, which fell to ʻUlukālala and his warriors.
The third attempt of Christian missionaries were recorded in April 1826, when two Tahitian London Missionaries were detained by Tupou the chief of Nukuʻalofa.
The arrival of the Methodist missionaries in Nukuʻalofa in 1827 reinforced the Christian faith. The persecution suffered by Christians in Hihifo and Hahake forced a lot of people to seek refuge in Nukuʻalofa. Thanks to the encouragement of Tupou, the King of Nukuʻalofa, this was the beginning of the expanding of Nukuʻalofa to become the major center of Christianity in Tonga.
The US Exploring Expedition met with King Josiah (Aleamotuʻa) in 1840.
The final phase of the arrival of Christianity in Tonga was the arrival of Father Chevron, or Patele Sevelo, in 1842. He wrote that he arrived in Nukuʻalofa in 1842 and met the Tuʻi Kanokupolu Aleamotuʻa who was baptised by the Wesleyan as Sosaia.
In conclusion, these landings turned Nukuʻalofa from a small village and fort into the center of Tonga during the introduction of Christianity. From the earliest records for Nukuʻalofa, early writers always referred to the settlement as Noogollefa (1797), Nioocalofa (1806), Nukualofa (1826 by Methodist) and Noukou-Alofa (1842 by French Catholic priests). There was no other mention of any other name of the settlement other than the settlement or fort of Nukuʻalofa.
The Declaration of the Constitution of Tonga in 1875 formalised Nukuʻalofa as the Capital of Tonga. King George Taufaʻahau Tupou I issued the Constitution of Tonga on 4 November 1875, in Nukuʻalofa. The Constitution also stated (Article 38) that the Parliament will meet in Nukuʻalofa except in time of war.
Since Nukuʻalofa have been expanding from when it became the center of Christianity in Tonga in the 19th century, it became essential that it was reorganised for effective administration of the capital. The reorganisation of Nukuʻalofa divided up Nukuʻalofa into three major district areas:
The national government is based in Nukuʻalofa. The parliament of Tonga meets there, and the Royal Palace is located near the city.
The name is said to have originated when Moʻungatonga, the 6th Tuʻi Haʻatakalaua (King who governs the daily business of Tonga on behalf of the Tuʻi Tonga or Sacred King of Tonga) sent his youngest son, Ngata (later to be 1st Tuʻi Kanokupolu) as governor to Hihifo (Western side of Tongatapu). It was a difficult decision for Ngata as the Tuʻi Tonga and Tuʻi Haʻatakalaua have been unable to control Hihifo. Ngata had many reasons to fear for his life as his predecessors had been killed by the chiefs and people of Hihifo.
Between 12 and 13 February, 2018, the Tongan Parliament House was destroyed by Cyclone Gita, a category 4 cyclone that hit the nation.As a result, the Parliament was moved to the Tongan National Centre, 4 km south of the city centre, and that parcel of land gazetted as a part of Nukuʻalofa.
Nukuʻalofa features a tropical rainforest climate under the Köppen climate classification. The area does experience noticeably wetter and drier periods during the year, but it does not have a true dry season month where monthly precipitation falls below 60 millimetres (2.4 in). Temperatures are slightly warmer during January and February where average temperatures hover around 25 °C (77 °F) than June and July where the average temperatures is roughly 21 °C (70 °F). Nukuʻalofa sees a little more than 1,700 millimetres (67 in) of precipitation annually. As the trade winds are almost permanent and cyclones are not rare in Nukuʻalofa, the climate is not equatorial but maritime trade-wind tropical climate.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
|Climate data for Nukuʻalofa (Elevation: 2m)|
|Record high °C (°F)||32|
|Average high °C (°F)||29.4|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||26.4|
|Average low °C (°F)||23.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||16|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||174|
|Average rainy days||17||19||19||17||15||14||15||13||13||11||12||15||180|
|Average relative humidity (%)||77||78||79||76||78||77||75||75||74||74||73||75||76|
Nukuʻalofa is the economic hub of the country.
Peau Vavaʻu, an airline, had its head office in the Pacific Royale Hotel in Nukuʻalofa. ʻalofa.The former Royal Tongan Airlines had its head office in the Royco Building in Nuku
The city has markets and a central business district. Much of the central business district was destroyed during the 2006 Nukuʻalofa riots, but it is being rebuilt.[ citation needed ]
The city has a number of tourist hotels.
Nukuʻalofa is the central hub for transport in Tonga.
Buses arrive and depart from the central bus station along Vuna Road close to the centre of town. Bus services are privately operated, and their drivers are free to set their own schedules. Fares are fixed by the government, with reduced rates for school children. The buses are usually filled to capacity. In addition, some schools and large hotels provide their own buses.
There are numerous taxis, also privately owned. Many people who own a car earn extra money by providing taxi services in their spare time. Taxi fares are also set by the government. Most families have their own car; few residents ride bicycles. There are no operational railways or trams in Tonga, although there was once a narrow-gauge railway from the lagoon to the wharf, which gave its name to Railway Road.
Nukuʻalofa harbour is the only deep-water harbour of the island, which determined its selection as the site for the capital. For many years Vuna Wharf was the international harbour until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1977. A new, much larger wharf was built towards Maʻufanga, named after Queen Sālote. Between these two wharves is the wharf numbered '42', used by fishermen and inter-island ferries. It is the central hub for boats to the outer islands. There are usually two boats to ʻEua each day and two to Haʻapai and Vavaʻu each week. In addition to these regular services by shipping companies, private boat owners provide less regular services to smaller islands such as Nomuka and ʻEueiki.
Air transport is provided by Fuaʻamotu International Airport on the south side of Tongatapu, 35 kilometres from Nukuʻalofa.
In January 2015, a new island of about 1 km diameter was reported to be created by a volcanic eruption. The newly formed island is situated about 65 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of the capital city.
Nukuʻalofa is twinned with:
The history of Tonga is recorded since the century after 900 BC, when seafarers associated with the Lapita diaspora first settled the islands which now make up the Kingdom of Tonga. Along with Fiji and Samoa, the area served as a gateway into the rest of the Pacific region known as Polynesia. Ancient Tongan mythologies recorded by early European explorers report the islands of 'Ata and Tongatapu as the first islands having been hauled to the surface from the deep ocean by Maui.
Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV, son of Queen Sālote Tupou III and her consort Prince Viliami Tungī Mailefihi, was the king of Tonga from the death of his mother in 1965 until his own death in 2006.
ʻAhoʻeitu Tupou VI is the King of Tonga. He is the younger brother and successor of the late King George Tupou V. He was officially confirmed by his brother on 27 September 2006 as the heir presumptive to the Throne of Tonga, as his brother had no legitimate children. He served as Tonga's High Commissioner to Australia, and resided in Canberra until the death of King George Tupou V on 18 March 2012, when ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho became King of Tonga, with the regnal name ʻAhoʻeitu Tupou VI.
Siaosi Tupou II, King of Tonga was the King of Tonga from 18 February 1893 until his death. He was officially crowned at Nukuʻalofa, on 17 March 1893. He was also the 20th Tuʻi Kanokupolu.
George Tupou I, King of Tonga was originally known as Tāufaʻāhau I, or Tupou Maeakafa Ngininginiofolanga in modern spelling. He adopted the name Siaosi, the Tongan version of George, after King George III of the United Kingdom, when he was baptized in 1831. His nickname was Lopa-ukamea, meaning iron cable.
Tuʻi Kanokupolu (chiefs) are a junior rank of the Haʻa Tuʻi in Tonga.
Maʻafu-ʻo-limuloa was the 15th Tuʻi Kanokupolu.
Tupoumālohi was the 16th Tuʻi Kanokupolu of Tonga from the death of his uncle Maʻafuʻolimuloa, the 15th Tuʻi Kanokupolu on 22 April 1799, until his own death in 1812.
The Tuʻi Tonga Empire, or Tongan Empire, are descriptions sometimes given to Tongan expansionism and projected hegemony in Oceania which began around 950 CE, reaching its peak during the period 1200–1500.
The Tuʻi Tonga is a line of Tongan kings, which originated in the tenth century with the mythical ʻAhoʻeitu; withdrew from political power in the fifteenth century by yielding to the Tuʻi Haʻatakalaua; and died out with Laufilitonga in 1865. Today its descendants still live in the chiefly line of Kalaniuvalu.
Peau Vavaʻu Ltd was an airline based at the Pacific Royale Hotel in Nukuʻalofa, Tongatapu, Tonga. It operated domestic services. Its main base is Fuaʻamotu International Airport, Tongatapu, with hubs at Lifuka Island Airport and Vavaʻu International Airport.
Kolonga is a village and the most populated settlement located on the northeast coast of Tongatapu in the Hahake District, Kingdom of Tonga. Kolonga is a hereditary estate of Lord Nuku.
Fīnau ʻUlukālala was a dynasty of six important hereditary chiefs from Vavaʻu, currently in the kingdom of Tonga. Started somewhere in the 18th century, died out in 1960. His original estate was Tuʻanuku, and his nickname and that of the village is Tavakefaiʻana.
The Tuʻipelehake is the second highest ranking chiefly title in Tonga. In the absence of the ancient Tuʻi Faleua title, the Tuʻipelehake title is second in rank after the King's title, Tu'i Kanokupolu. There have been several holders of the title mainly from the ruling royal family, from princes to prime ministers. It is Tongan custom to refer to the holder by his customary title, only adding his given name if confusion may arise. For example, Tuʻi Pelehake (ʻUluvalu).
Hule Fortress was a stronghold in Nukunuku, Tongatapu, Country of Tonga, during 1826. Nukunuku is a village of Noble Tu'ivakano(Uhi) and his community and it is located in Tongatapu in the west side of the peninsula.(Hihifo)
Aleamotuʻa was the 18th Tu'i Kanokupolu of Tonga, the third lineage of Tongan Kings with the political and military power who ruled in support of the Tu'i Tonga.
Tupoumoheofo was 12th Tu'i Kanokupolu of Tonga, and the only female to ever hold that title. She was the principal wife to the Tu'i Tonga though she may have been of higher social rank than him because of her matrilineal descent. After a vacancy in the Tu'i Kanokupolu title, she used her status to designated herself successor, reigning on Tongatapu for slightly less than one year starting in perhaps 1792 before being forcibly deposed by her distant relative Tuku’aho. Tupoumoheofo retreated to retirement in the northern Tongan Island of Vava’u under the protection of the 'Ulukalala family.
Tuku’aho was the 14th Tu’I Kanokupolu of Tonga, reigning approximately from 1793 to 1799. He was considered the “strong man” of the Tupou family despite coming from a lower lineage, and he used his power to depose the 12th Tu’I Kanokupolu, Tupoumoheofo, who was of the higher line. Tuku’aho placed instilled his own father, Mumui, as the 13th Tu’I Kanokupolu and then took the title for himself upon Mumui's death. Tuku’aho reigned Tonga as a tyrant, for which he was assassinated by a team of high chiefs. His death sparked a civil war that lasted for nearly a half century.
The Kingdom of Tonga has a number of historical monuments, linked to the chiefly dynasties which ruled over the islands for centuries.
Nalesoni Laifone was the third Crown Prince of Tonga from 1885 to 1889. He died before succeeding to the throne.