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Though it is no longer practiced today, Tonga's ancient religion was practiced for over 2000 years. Missionaries arrived and persuaded King George Tupou I to convert to Christianity; he ordered and strictly enforced that all Tongans become Christian and no longer practice the ancient polytheistic religion with its supreme god Tangaloa.
Pulotu was the unseen world, the domain of the god or goddess Hikule'o believed to be reached by sea. Stories told of journeys to Pulotu. Tongans identify Pulotu with the underworld, Lolofonua. Pulotu is also identified with the cemetery or graveyard. Long ago, it was believed that Pulotu could be visited by a man to recover a dead wife. Hikule'o would assemble the spirits so the wife could be found, reanimated and released.
Two entrances are pointed out by Tongans. One is Ahole a deep hole on the island of Koloa, Vava'u. Ahole was the opening from which Maui Kisikisi brought fire from the underworld to this world. The second opening was through the island of Tofua. There are three divisions of Pulotu called Pulotu Tete, Pulotu 'Aka'aka, and Pulotu Tu'uma'u.
Tangaloa, the sky god, was regarded in Vava'u as the deity who hauled up the islands of the Vava'u group, his fish hook catching in what is now the island of Hunga. The Vava'u people attributed this great act to Tangaloa instead of Maui due to the importance of Tangaloa worship in Vava'u. Tangaloa Tufunga, though said not to be a god in Niuatoputapu, is the patron of carpenters elsewhere in Tonga.
The Maui were special men or demigods; they appeared human. Maui drew up the islands of Atata, north of Tongatapu, as well as Tongatapu with all its associated islands, then Lofanga and the other Ha'apai islands, and lastly the Vava'u.
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.
Located in Oceania, Tonga is a small archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, directly south of Samoa and about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. It has 169 islands, 36 of them inhabited, are divided into three main groups – Vava'u, Ha'apai, and Tongatapu – and cover an 800-kilometre (500-mile)-long north–south line. The total size is just 747 km2 (288 sq mi). Due to the spread out islands it has the 40th largest Exclusive Economic Zone of 659,558 km2 (254,657 sq mi).
Māui (Maui) is the great culture hero and trickster in Polynesian mythology. Very rarely was Māui actually worshipped, being less of a deity and more of a folk hero. His origins vary from culture to culture, but many of his main exploits remain relatively similar.
Tongan narrative is a variant of a more general Polynesian narrative in Tonga.
Pulotu is the resting place of those passed on in the Polynesian narrative of Tonga and Samoa, the world of darkness "lalo fonua".
In the mythology of Tonga, Havea Hikuleʻo is the god of the world, Pulotu. The islands of Kao, Tofua, Hunga Haʻapai, Hunga Tonga, Late and Fonualei came from stones thrown down from the skies by Hikuleʻo. They are all volcanic islands. The other, (coral) islands were fished up by his brother or cousin Maui.
In the Polynesian mythology of Tonga, Laufakanaʻa was a primordial creator god. Although called 'Tongan', his home was ʻAta, and he was better known by the original Tongans on the Lau Islands than in the kingdom of Tonga proper.
Tongatapu is the main island of the Kingdom of Tonga and the location of its capital Nukuʻalofa. It is located in Tonga's southern island group, to which it gives its name, and is the country's most populous island, with 74,611 residents (2016), 70.5% of the national population, on 260 square kilometres. Its maximum elevation is 65 metres above sea level. Tongatapu is Tonga's centre of government and the seat of its monarchy.
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.
Vavaʻu is the island group of one large island and 40 smaller ones in Tonga. It is part of Vavaʻu District which includes several other individual islands. According to tradition the Maui god finished up both Tongatapu and Vavaʻu, but put a little more effort into the former. Vavaʻu rises 204 metres (669 ft) above sea level at Mount Talau. The capital is Neiafu, situated at the Port of Refuge.
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.
Tangaloa was an important family of gods in Tongan mythology. The first Tangaloa was the cousin of Havea Hikuleʻo and Maui, or in some sources the brother or son or father of them. He was Tangaloa ʻEiki, and was assigned by his father, Taufulifonua, the realm of the sky to rule.
Tuʻi-tā-tui(translation: The king who strikes the knee) was the 11th king of the Tuʻi Tonga, a dynasty in Tonga, who supposedly lived during the 12th century AD. Most of what is known about him is through Tongan myths and tales.
The Tu'i Pulotu is believed to be the head of an ancient group of people that settled in Pulotu (Fiji) during the Lapita period. It was said that the Tui Pulotu originally came from the Fiji Islands and led the Pacific Islands from the early BC era to the first 800 years AD. Many people tried to associate Pulotu with Burotu because of the different pronounciations within Tonga, Samoa and Fiji.And we all know that Burotu in Fiji was the Burotukula which used to be seen near Matuku in Lau.
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.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had a presence in Tonga since 1891. The Tongan Mission was organized in 1916. However, due to anti-Mormon rumors and government policies, the LDS Church did not grow steadily in Tonga until 1924. Between 1946 and 1956, church leaders published Tongan translations of the scriptures and built a church-sponsored school known as the Liahona School. In 1968, Tonga's first LDS stake was organized and the Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple was dedicated in 1983.
Sioeli Nau also known as Joel Nau was a Tongan Methodist minister. He was the son of Lu'isa Ma'ukakalafo'ou Lauaki and Filipe 'Onevela. He was also the grandson of Matapule Lauaki the Nima Tapu.
Tongan kava ceremonies play an integral part of Tongan society and governance. Ranging from informal “faikava” or kava “parties” to the highly stratified, ancient, and ritualized Taumafa Kava, or Royal Kava Ceremony, Tongan kava ceremonies continue to permeate Tongan society both in Tonga and diaspora, strengthening cultural values and principles, while solidifying traditional ideals of duty and reciprocity, reaffirming societal structures, and entrenching the practice of pukepuke fonua, or tightly holding on to the land, a Tongan cultural ideal to maintain, preserve, and live traditional Tongan culture.
The early history of Tonga covers the islands' settlement and the early Lapita culture through to the rise of the Tuʻi Tonga Empire.
The Kingdom of Tonga has a number of historical monuments, linked to the chiefly dynasties which ruled over the islands for centuries.
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