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allemand anglais arabe bulgare chinois coréen croate danois espagnol estonien finnois français grec hébreu hindi hongrois islandais indonésien italien japonais letton lituanien malgache néerlandais norvégien persan polonais portugais roumain russe serbe slovaque slovène suédois tchèque thai turc vietnamien
allemand anglais arabe bulgare chinois coréen croate danois espagnol estonien finnois français grec hébreu hindi hongrois islandais indonésien italien japonais letton lituanien malgache néerlandais norvégien persan polonais portugais roumain russe serbe slovaque slovène suédois tchèque thai turc vietnamien

définition - Kingdom_of_Tonga

Kingdom of Tonga (n.)

1.a monarchy on a Polynesian archipelago in the South Pacific; achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1970

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synonymes - Kingdom_of_Tonga

Kingdom of Tonga (n.)

Friendly Islands, Tonga

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Kingdom of Tonga (n.)

Tongan

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Tonga

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Kingdom of Tonga
Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga  (Tongan)
FlagCoat of arms
MottoKo e ʻOtua mo Tonga ko hoku tofiʻa
God and Tonga are my Inheritance
AnthemKo e fasi ʻo e tuʻi ʻo e ʻOtu Tonga
Capital
(and largest city)
Nukuʻalofa
21°08′S 175°12′W / 21.133°S 175.2°W / -21.133; -175.2
Official languagesTongan, English
DemonymTongan
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
 - KingGeorge Tupou V
 - Prime MinisterDr. Feleti Sevele
Independence
 - from British protectorateJune 4, 1970 
Area
 - Total748 km2 (186th)
289 sq mi 
 - Water (%)4.0
Population
 - 2009 estimate104,000[1] (195th)
 - Density139/km2 (76th1)
360/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2008 estimate
 - Total$554 million[2] 
 - Per capita$5,382[2] 
GDP (nominal)2008 estimate
 - Total$258 million[2] 
 - Per capita$2,510[2] 
HDI (2008)0.768[3] (medium) (99th)
CurrencyPaʻanga (TOP)
Time zone(UTC+13)
 - Summer (DST) (UTC+13)
Drives on theleft
Internet TLD.to
Calling code676
1Based on 2005 figures.

Tonga (pronounced [ˈtoŋa]), officially the Kingdom of Tonga (Tongan: Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga), an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprises 169 islands, 36 of them inhabited.[4] The Kingdom stretches over a distance of about 800 kilometres (500 miles) in a north-south line. The islands that constitute the archipelago lie south of Samoa, about one-third of the way from New Zealand to Hawaiʻi.

Tonga also became known to geographers as the Friendly Islands because of the friendly reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit in 1773. He happened to arrive at the time of the ʻinasi festival, the yearly donation of the first fruits to the Tuʻi Tonga, the islands' paramount chief, and received an invitation to the festivities. According to the writer William Mariner, in reality the chiefs had wanted to kill Cook during the gathering, but could not agree on a plan.[5]

Tonga, the only sovereign monarchy among the island nations of the Pacific Ocean, has a unique history as the only island nation in the region to have avoided formal colonial tutelage.[6] Tonga is poised to become a constitutional monarchy after legislations reforms, and a more fully representative election, takes place in 2010.

Contents

Etymology

In many Polynesian languages, the word tonga means "south". The name of Tonga derives from the word Tongahahake,[citation needed] which translates to "Southeast", originally meaning "the wind that blows from the Southeast". The proper pronunciation of the name 'Tonga' is /toŋa/[7], and not /tɒŋɡə/, a pronunciation used for an Indian carriage spelled in the same way and so causing confusion.

History

An Austronesian-speaking group linked to the archeological construct known as the Lapita cultural complex reached and colonized Tonga around 1500–1000 BCE.[8] (Scholars continue to debate the dates of the initial settlement of Tonga.) Reaching the Tongan islands (without modern navigational tools and techniques) was a remarkable feat accomplished by the Lapita peoples. Not much is known about Tonga before European contact because of the lack of a writing system during prehistoric times. But oral history has persisted, and Europeans have recorded it (and given it Eurocentric interpretations). (The Tongan people first encountered Europeans in 1616 when the Dutch vessel Eendracht made a short visit to the islands to trade.)

By the 12th century Tongans, and the Tongan paramount chief, the Tuʻi, had a reputation across the central Pacific, from Niue to Tikopia, leading some historians to speak of a 'Tongan Empire'. In the 15th century and again in the 17th, civil war erupted. Into this situation the first European explorers arrived, beginning in 1616 with the Dutch explorers Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire (who called on the northern island of Niuatoputapu), and in 1643 with Abel Tasman(who visited Tongatapu and Haʻapai). Later noteworthy European visitors included James Cook (British Navy) in 1773, 1774, and 1777, Alessandro Malaspina (Spanish Navy) in 1793, the first London missionaries in 1797, and the Wesleyan Methodist Walter Lawry Buller in 1822.

In 1845 the ambitious young warrior, strategist, and orator Tāufaʻāhau united Tonga into a kingdom. He held the chiefly title of Tuʻi Kanokupolu, but was baptised[by whom?] with the name King George. In 1875, with the help of missionary Shirley Waldemar Baker, he declared Tonga a constitutional monarchy, formally adopted the western royal style, emancipated the "serfs", enshrined a code of law, land tenure, and freedom of the press, and limited the power of the chiefs.

Tonga became a protected state under a Treaty of Friendship on 18 May 1900, when European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs tried to oust the second king. Within the British Empire, which posted no higher permanent representative on Tonga than a British Consul (1901–1970), Tonga formed part of the British Western Pacific Territories (under a colonial High Commissioner, then residing on Fiji) from 1901 until 1952. Although under the protection of Britain, Tonga is the only Pacific nation never to have given up its monarchical government as did Tahiti and Hawaiʻi. The Tongan monarchy unlike the UK follows a straight line of rulers.

The Treaty of Friendship and Tonga's protectorate status ended in 1970 under arrangements established by Queen Salote Tupou III prior to her death in 1965. Tonga joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970 (atypically as an autochthonous monarchy, that is one with its own hereditary monarch rather than Elizabeth II), and the United Nations in September 1999. While exposed to colonial pressures, Tonga has never lost indigenous governance, a fact that makes Tonga unique in the Pacific and gives Tongans much pride, as well as confidence in their monarchical system. As part of cost cutting measures across the British Foreign Service, the British Government closed the British High Commission in Nukuʻalofa in March 2006, transferring representation of British interests in Tonga to the UK High Commissioner in Fiji. The last resident British High Commissioner was Paul Nessling.[9]

Geography

Administratively Tonga sub-divides into five divisions: 'Eua, Ha'apai, Niuas, Tongatapu, and Vava'u.[10][11]

Politics

Tonga operates as a constitutional monarchy. Reverence for the monarch replaces that held in earlier centuries for the sacred paramount chief, the Tuʻi Tonga. Criticism of the monarch is held to be contrary to Tongan culture and etiquette. A direct descendant of the first monarch, King George Tupou V, his family, some powerful nobles, and a growing non-royal elite caste live in much wealth, with the rest of the country living in relative poverty. The effects of this disparity are mitigated by three factors: education, medicine, and land tenure.

Tonga provides for its citizens:

  • free and mandatory education for all
  • secondary education with only nominal fees
  • and foreign-funded scholarships for post-secondary education

Tongans enjoy a relatively high level of education, with a 98% literacy rate, and higher education up to and including medical and graduate degrees (pursued mostly overseas).

Tongans also have universal access to a national health care system. The Tongan constitution protects land ownership: land cannot be sold to foreigners (although it may be leased). While there is a land shortage on the urbanized main island of Tongatapu (where 70% of the population resides), there is farm land available in the outlying islands. The majority of the population engages in some form of subsistence production of food, with approximately half producing almost all of their basic food needs through farming, sea harvesting, and animal husbandry. Women and men have equal access to education and health care, and are fairly equal in employment, but women are discriminated against in land holding, electoral politics, and government ministries. However, in Tongan tradition women enjoy a higher social status than men[citation needed], a cultural trait that is unique among the insular societies of the Pacific.

Prime Minister Feleti Sevele

The pro-democracy movement in Tonga promotes reforms, including better representation in the Parliament for the majority commoners, and better accountability in matters of state. An overthrow of the monarchy itself is not part of the movement and the institution of monarchy continues to hold popular support, even while reforms are advocated. Until recently, the governance issue was generally ignored by the leaders of other countries, but major aid donors and neighbours New Zealand and Australia are now expressing concerns about some Tongan government actions.

Following the precedents of Queen Sālote, and the consel of numerous international advisors, the government of Tonga under King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV monetized the economy, internationalized the medical and education system, and enabled access by commoners to increasing forms of material wealth (houses, cars, and other commodities), education, and overseas travel. The government has supported Olympic and other international sports competition, and contributed Peacekeepers to the United Nations (notably to Bougainville and the Solomon Islands). The Tongan government also supported the American "coalition of the willing" action in Iraq, and a small number of Tongan soldiers were deployed, as part of an American force, to Iraq in late 2004. However, the contingent of 40+ troops returned home on 17 December 2004.[12] In 2007, a second contingent was sent to Iraq while two more were sent during 2008 to be part of Tonga's continuous support for the coalition. This Tongan involvement was finally concluded at the end of 2008 with no loss of Tongan life reported.

The previous king, Tāufaʻāhau and his government made some problematic economic decisions and are accused of wasting millions of dollars in poor investments.[13] The problems have mostly been driven by attempts to increase national revenue through a variety of schemes, considering making Tonga a nuclear waste disposal site (an idea floated in the mid-90s by the current crown prince);[14] selling Tongan Protected Persons Passports (which eventually forced Tonga to naturalize the purchasers, sparking ethnicity-based concerns within Tonga);[15] registering foreign ships (which proved to be engaged in illegal activities, including shipments for al-Qaeda);[16] claiming geo-orbital satellite slots (the revenue from which seems to belong to the Princess Royal, not the state);[17] holding a long-term charter on an unusable Boeing 757 that was sidelined in Auckland Airport, leading to the collapse of Royal Tongan Airlines;[18] building an airport hotel and potential casino with an Interpol-accused criminal;[citation needed] and approving a factory for exporting cigarettes to China (against the advice of Tongan medical officials, and decades of health promotion messaging).[19] The king has proved vulnerable to speculators with big promises and lost several million (reportedly 26 million USD) to Jesse Bogdonoff, a financial adviser who called himself the king's Court Jester.[13] The police have imprisoned pro-democracy leaders, and the government repeatedly confiscated the newspaper The Tongan Times (which was printed in New Zealand and sold in Tonga) because the editor had been vocally critical of the king's mistakes.[20] Notably, the Keleʻa, produced specifically to critique the government and printed in Tonga by pro-democracy leader ʻAkilisi Pōhiva, was not banned during that time. Pōhiva, however, had been subjected to harassment in the form of frequent lawsuits.[21]

In mid-2003 the government passed a radical constitutional amendment to "Tonganize" the press, by licensing and limiting freedom of the press, so as to protect the image of the monarchy. The amendment was defended by the government and by royalists on the basis of traditional cultural values. Licensure criteria include 80% ownership by Tongans living in the country. As of February 2004, those papers denied licenses under the new act included the Taimi ʻo Tonga (Tongan Times), the Keleʻa and the Matangi Tonga, while those which were permitted licenses were uniformly church-based or pro-government. The bill was opposed in the form of a several-thousand-strong protest march in the capital, a call by the Tuʻi Pelehake (a prince, nephew of the king and elected member of parliament) for Australia and other nations to pressure the Tongan government to democratize the electoral system, and a legal writ calling for a judicial investigation of the bill. The latter was supported by some 160 signatures, including seven of the nine elected "People's Representatives". The strong-arm tactics and gaffes have overshadowed the good that the aged king had done in his lifetime, as well as the many beneficial reforms of his son, ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho (Lavaka Ata ʻUlukālala), who was Prime Minister from January 3, 2000 to February 11, 2006.[neutrality is disputed] The former Crown Prince and current monarch, Tupoutoʻa, and Pilolevu, the Princess Royal, remained generally silent on the issue. In total, the changes threatened to destabilize the polity, fragment support for the status quo, and place further pressure on the monarchy.

In 2005 the government spent several weeks negotiating with striking civil-service workers before reaching a settlement. The civil unrest that ensued was not limited to just Tonga; protests outside the king's New Zealand residence made headlines, too. A constitutional commission is currently (2005–06) studying proposals to update the constitution.[22]

Prime Minister Prince ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho (Lavaka Ata ʻUlukālala) resigned suddenly on February 11, 2006, and also gave up his other cabinet portfolios. The elected Minister of Labour, Dr Feleti Sevele, replaced him in the interim.

On July 5, 2006 a driver in Menlo Park, California caused the deaths of Prince Tu'ipelehake ʻUluvalu, his wife, and their driver. Tu'ipelehake, 55, was the co-chairman of the constitutional reform commission, and a nephew of the King.

The Tongan public expected some changes when Siaosi Tupou V (later King George Tupou V) succeeded his father in 2006. On November 16, 2006, rioting broke out in the capital city of Nuku'alofa when it seemed that the parliament would adjourn for the year without having made any advances in increasing democracy in government. Pro-democracy activists burned and looted shops, offices, and government buildings. As a result, more than 60% of the downtown area was destroyed, and as many as 6 people died.[23]

On July 29, 2008 the Palace announced that King George Tupou V would relinquish much of his power and would surrender his role in day-to-day governmental affairs to the Prime Minister. The royal chamberlain said that this was being done to prepare the monarchy for 2010, when most of the first parliament will be elected, and added: "The Sovereign of the only Polynesian kingdom... is voluntarily surrendering his powers to meet the democratic aspirations of many of his people." The previous week, the government said the king had completed the sale of his ownership of state assets which had contributed to much of the royal family's wealth.[24]

Economy

File:Coin tonga.JPG
A Tongan one cent (seniti taha) coin

Tonga's economy is characterized by a large non monetary sector and a heavy dependence on remittances from the half of the country's population that lives abroad, chiefly in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The monetary sector of the economy is dominated and largely owned by the royal family and nobles. This is particularly true of the telecommunications and satellite services. Much of small business, particularly retail establishments on Tongatapu, is now dominated by recent Chinese immigrants who arrived under a cash-for-passports scheme that ended in 1998.

The manufacturing sector consists of handicrafts and a few other very small scale industries, all of which contribute only about 3% of GDP. Commercial business activities also are inconspicuous and, to a large extent, are dominated by the same large trading companies found throughout the South Pacific. In September 1974, the country's first commercial trading bank, the Bank of Tonga, opened. There are no patent laws in Tonga.[25]

Rural Tongans rely on plantation and subsistence agriculture. Coconuts, vanilla beans, bananas, coffee beans and root crops such as yams, taro and cassava, are the major cash crops. The processing of coconuts into copra and desiccated (dried) coconut was once the only significant industry but deteriorating prices on the world market has brought this once vibrant industry, as everywhere throughout the island nations of the south Pacific, to a complete standstill. In addition, the feudal land ownership system meant that farmers had no incentive to invest in planting long-term tree crops on land they did not own. Pigs and poultry are the major types of livestock. Horses are kept for draft purposes, primarily by farmers working their 'api 'uta (a plot of bushland). More cattle are being raised, and beef imports are declining. The export of squash to Japan once brought relief to a struggling economy but recently local farmers are increasingly wary of this market due to price fluctuations, not to mention the huge financial risks involved.

Tonga's development plans emphasize a growing private sector, upgrading agricultural productivity, revitalizing the squash and vanilla bean industries, developing tourism, and improving the island's communications and transportation systems. Substantial progress has been made, but much work remains to be done. A small but growing construction sector is developing in response to the inflow of aid monies and remittances from Tongans abroad. It remains to be said that the most significant contributor to Tonga's economy are remittances from Tongans living abroad. In recognition of such a crucial contribution, the present Tongan government has created a new department within the Prime Minister's Office with the sole purpose of catering for the needs of Tongans living abroad. Furthermore, the Tongan Parliament in 2007 amended citizenship laws to allow Tongans especially those living overseas to hold dual citizenship.

Efforts are being made to discover ways to diversify. One hope is seen in fisheries; tests have shown that sufficient skipjack tuna pass through Tongan waters to support a fishing industry. Another potential development activity is exploitation of forests, which cover 35% of the kingdom's land area but are decreasing as land is cleared. Coconut trees past their prime bearing years also provide a potential source of timber.

The tourist industry is relatively undeveloped; however, the government recognizes that tourism can play a major role in economic development, and efforts are being made to increase this source of revenue. Cruise ships often stop in Nukuʻalofa and Vavaʻu.

Vava'u in fact is well known for its whale watching, game fishing, surfing, beaches and is increasingly becoming a major player in the South Pacific tourism market.

Tonga’s postage stamps, which feature colorful and often unusual designs (including heart-shaped and banana-shaped stamps) are popular with philatelists around the world.[26]

Real estate companies have also just started to spring up in Tonga; as such, they were basically unheard of less than a decade ago. These have provided a way of making income for many Tongans as nearly every male Tongan has plots of land that he has never seen and the leasing of this valuable and attractive land allows the Tongan to live in a comfort not experienced before. There are also many Tongans who work as commission agents and earn a living by finding available land parcels and bringing them to local ex-pats or computer savvy Tongans to list on-line. Some of these so-called real estate companies have done more harm than good and one would be wise to be careful when dealing with them. However for the most part acquiring real estate in Tonga is a simple, straightforward and problem-free process.[citation needed]

In 2005 the country became eligible to become a member of the World Trade Organization, however on July 25, 2006 it was announced that Tonga has deferred its membership of the WTO until July next year according to the Tongan Prime Minister, Dr. Feleti Sevele.

The delay he said did not mean that Tonga was withdrawing its WTO membership application, but to give Tonga more time to improve its tariff system.

The Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) was incorporated in 1996 and endeavours to represent the interests of its members, private sector businesses, and to promote economic growth in the Kingdom.

Energy

Tonga is installing tailor-made policies to power its remote islands in a sustainable way – without turning to expensive grid-extensions. A number of islands within the Kingdom of Tonga are lacking basic electricity supply. In view of the decreasing reliability of fossil-fuel electricity generation, its increasing costs and negative environmental side-effects, renewable energy solutions have attracted the government’s attention. Together with IRENA, Tonga has charted out a renewable energy based strategy to power the main and outer islands alike. The strategy focuses on Solar Home Systems that turn individual households into small power plants. In addition, it calls for the involvement of local operators, finance institutions and technicians to provide sustainable business models as well as strategies to ensure the effective operation, management and maintenance once the systems are installed.[27]

Demographics

Demographics of Tonga, data of FAO, year 2005; number of inhabitants in thousands

Over 70% of the 101,991 inhabitants of the Kingdom of Tonga live on its main island, Tongatapu. Although an increasing number of Tongans have moved into the only urban and commercial centre, Nukuʻalofa, where European and indigenous cultural and living patterns have blended, village life and kinship ties continue to be important throughout the country. Everyday life is heavily influenced by Polynesian traditions and especially by the Christian faith; for example, all commerce and entertainment activities cease from midnight Saturday until midnight Sunday, and the constitution declares the Sabbath to be sacred, forever. Some Tongans are Methodists[28] with a significant Catholic minority and a number of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). The official figures from the latest government census of 2006 (cf. www.pmo.gov.to/tongastats) shows that the four major church affiliations in the kingdom currently stand as follows: Free Wesleyans (38,052 or 37%); The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ("Mormons") (17,109 or 17%); Catholics (15,992 or 16%); Free Church of Tonga (11,599 or 11%). By their own church statistics, Mormons claim 48 percent of the population to substantiate their claim that Tonga is the most Mormon nation in the world,[29] a phenomenon which has been remarked upon in such publications as Salon.[30]

Tongans, Polynesian by ethnicity with a very small mixture of Melanesian, represent more than 98% of the inhabitants. The rest are European (the majority are British), mixed European, and other Pacific Islanders. There were approximately 3,000 or 4,000 Chinese in Tonga in 2001, thus comprising 3 or 4% of the total Tongan population.[31] In 2006, Nukuʻalofa riots mainly targeted Chinese-owned businesses, leading to the emigration of several hundred Chinese.[32]

Primary education between ages 6 and 14 is compulsory and free in state schools. Mission schools provide about 8% of the primary and 90% of the secondary level of education. State schools make up for the rest. Higher education includes teacher training, nursing and medical training, a small private university, a woman's business college, and a number of private agricultural schools. Most higher education is pursued overseas.

The Tongan language is the official language of the islands, along with English. Tongan is a Polynesian language which is closely related to Wallisian (Uvean), Niuean, Hawaiian, and Samoan.

70% of Tongan women aged 15–85 are obese. Tonga and nearby Nauru have the world’s highest overweight and obese populations.[33]

Culture and diaspora

Tonga has been inhabited for perhaps 3,000 years, since settlement in late Lapita times. The culture of its inhabitants has surely changed greatly over this long time period. Before the arrival of European explorers in the late 1600s and early 1700s, the Tongans were in frequent contact with their nearest Oceanic neighbor, Fiji & Niue. In the 1800s, with the arrival of Western traders and missionaries, Tongan culture changed dramatically. Some old beliefs and habits were thrown away, and others adopted. Some accommodations made in the 1800s and early 1900s are now being challenged by changing Western civilization.

The start of a Tongan ula dance.

Contemporary Tongans often have strong ties to overseas lands. Many Tongans have emigrated to Australia, New Zealand, and the United States to seek employment and a higher standard of living. U.S. cities with significant Tongan American populations include Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Anchorage, Alaska; Inland Empire, California; San Mateo, California; East Palo Alto, California; San Bruno, California; Oakland, California; Inglewood, California; Los Angeles, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Honolulu, Hawaii; Reno, Nevada, and Euless, Texas (in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex). Large Tongan communities can also be found in Tutuila, American Samoa, Auckland, New Zealand, and in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. This Tongan diaspora is still closely tied to relatives at home, and a significant portion of Tonga's income derives from remittances to family members (often aged) who prefer to remain in Tonga.

Sport

Rugby union is the national sport in Tonga, and the national team ('Ikale Tahi or Sea Eagles) has performed quite well on the international stage. Although in recent years the national team has not performed as well as neighboring Samoa and Fiji, Tonga has competed in five Rugby World Cups, the first being in 1987. The 2007 Rugby World Cup was its most successful to date, with Tonga winning both of its first two matches, against the USA 25–15 and Samoa 19–15; and came very close to upsetting the eventual winners of the 2007 tournament, the South African Springboks, losing 30–25 in the end. They then lost to England 36–20 in their last pool game to end their hopes of making the knockout stages but were by no means disgraced. In fact, by picking up third place in their pool games behind South Africa and England, Tonga has since been rewarded with automatic qualification for the 2011 Rugby World Cup to be held in New Zealand.

Tonga's best result prior to 2007 came in 1995 when they won one game beating Ivory Coast 29–11, and 1999 when they won one game beating Italy 28–25 (although with only 14 men they lost heavily to England, 10–101). Tonga performs the "Sipi Tau" (war dance) before its matches. Tonga used to compete in the Pacific Tri-Nations against Samoa and Fiji which has now been replaced by the IRB Pacific 6 Nations involving as well Japan, the second string All Blacks (Junior All Blacks) and Wallabies (Australia A) although from 2008 the Junior All Blacks would be replaced by the Maori All Blacks. At club level, there are the Datec Cup Provincial Championship and the Pacific Rugby Cup. Rugby union is governed by the Tonga Rugby Football Union, which is also a member of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance. Tonga contributes to the Pacific Islanders rugby union team. Jonah Lomu, Viliami (William) 'Ofahengaue and George Smith, Wycliff Palu, Tatafu Polota-Nau are all of Tongan descent. Rugby is popular in the nation's schools and students from schools such as Tonga College, Tupou College are regularly offered scholarships from New Zealand, Australia and Japan.

Rugby league has also gained some success in Tonga. In the 2008 Rugby League World Cup Tonga recorded wins against Ireland and Scotland. In addition to the success of the national team, many players of Tongan descent make it big in the Australian National Rugby League competition. These include Willie Mason, Brent Kite, Willie Tonga, Anthony Tupou, Antonio Kaufusi, Israel Folau, Taniela Tuiaki, Michael Jennings, Feleti Mateo, Fetuli Talanoa, to name but a few. Subsequently, some Tongan Rugby League players have established successful careers in the British Super League.

Tongan Boxer Paea Wolfgram won the silver medal in the Super Heavyweight division (>91 kg) at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. He thus became one of the very few Polynesians or Pacific Islanders to win an Olympic medal, alongside Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (a.k.a. Duke Kahanamoku), a native Hawaiian.

Tongan women are known for being skillful jugglers.[34]

A number of US citizens of Tongan descent have made successful careers in American football. Euless' Trinity High School, the Texas state champion football team in 2007 and #1 ranked team nationally in 2008, has several Tongan players. Haloti Ngata is a professional football player in the NFL. Ngata is a defensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. Vai Sikahema, a native of Tonga, is a former NFL running back/kick returner, who now is a sportscaster in Philadelphia.[35] Ma'ake Kemoeatu, also born in Tonga, plays as a defensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers. His brother Chris Kemoeatu plays as an offensive guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Media

Regional distribution

  • Taimi o Tonga — Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, United States of America

Domestic distribution

  • Kele'a — Newspaper
  • Talaki — Newspaper
  • Kalonikali — Newspaper
  • Tau'ataina — Newspaper

See also

References

  1. ^ Department of Economic and Social AffairsPopulation Division (2009) (.PDF). World Population Prospects, Table A.1. 2008 revision. United Nations. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2008/wpp2008_text_tables.pdf. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Tonga". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=866&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=64&pr.y=5. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^ Human Development Report 2009. The United Nations. Retrieved 15 October 2009
  4. ^ "Pacific Islands Report #32261"PDF (33.8 KB), World Bank
  5. ^ Had they known of British colonization they might[original research?] have killed him anyway, as eventually happened in Hawaiʻi.Mr Korovulavula - Occasion of the Inaugural Flight Fiji/Tonga/Fiji Reception by Airlines Tonga, accessed April 16, 2008.
  6. ^ Country Profile: Tonga. BBC News.
  7. ^ C.M. Churchward, Tongan grammar. ISBN 0-908717-05-9
  8. ^ Kirch 1997 The Lapita Peoples
  9. ^ The sun finally sets on our men in paradise, published on The Daily Telegraph, March 21, 2005.
  10. ^ Population Census 2006: Population size, Trend, Distribution and Structure, Tonga Department of Statistics
  11. ^ Divisions of Tonga, Statoids.com
  12. ^ Iraq Coalition Troops, published on GlobalSecurity, August 18, 2005
  13. ^ a b http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/09/10/tonga.king.ap/index.html
  14. ^ December 1997
  15. ^ Tonga : In Depth : History | Frommers.com
  16. ^ The ships that died of shame - smh.com.au
  17. ^ Tongasat
  18. ^ Islands Business - No Govt Support Blamed for Airline Collapse
  19. ^ Articles:Listing Tonga
  20. ^ Pacific Journalism Review 1996 Tongan
  21. ^ Tongan Court Case Over Wrongful Imprisonment Recommences - July 31, 2002
  22. ^ No resolution in sight in Tonga, published on TVNZ, August 30, 2005
  23. ^ Riots
  24. ^ "Tonga's king to cede key powers". BBC News. July 29, 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7530209.stm. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  25. ^ Gazetteer - Patents at www.billanderson.com.au
  26. ^ Earl R. Hinz & Jim Howard (2006). Landfalls of Paradise: Cruising Guide to the Pacific Islands. University of Hawaii Press. p. 157. ISBN 0824830377. http://books.google.com/books?id=CjIg5FgUUW8C&pg=PA157&dq=tonga+postage+stamps&lr=&ei=gI_bSfPyFoy0yQSepenzCQ#PPA157,M1. 
  27. ^ http://www.irena.org
  28. ^ (cf. Ernst, Manfred/ Winds of Change. Suva: PCC, 1994, p. 146)
  29. ^ Wakeley, Alan B. "LDS Newsroom" LDS Church Statistical Information: Tonga, May 25, 2008 [1]
  30. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew. "The Mormons are coming." Salon, Sept. 20, 2007
  31. ^ "Editorial: Racist moves will rebound on Tonga", New Zealand Herald, November 23, 2001
  32. ^ "Flight chartered to evacuate Chinese in Tonga", ABC News, November 22, 2006
  33. ^ Welcome to the town that will make you lose weight - Times Online at www.timesonline.co.uk
  34. ^ The Juggling Girls of Tonga, Steve Cohen at www.juggling.org
  35. ^ [2]

Further reading

  • Ancient Tonga and the Lost City of Mu'a: Including Samoa, Fiji and Raratonga by David Hatcher Childress
  • The Art of Tonga by Keith St. Cartmail
  • Becoming Tongan: An Ethnography of Childhood by Helen Morton
  • Birds of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa by Dick Watling
  • A Guide to the Birds of Fiji and Western Polynesia: Including American Samoa, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Wallis and Futuna by Dick Watling
  • Guide to the Birds of the Kingdom of Tonga by Dick Watling
  • Lonely Planet Guide: Samoan Islands and Tonga by Susannah Farfor and Paul Smitz
  • Moon Travel Guide: Samoa-Tonga by David Stanley
  • Queen Salote of Tonga: The Story of an Era, 1900-65 by Elizabeth Wood-Ellem
  • Toki by Brian K. Crawford
  • Tonga by James Siers
  • The Tonga Book by Paul. W. Dale
  • Tonga: A New Bibliography by Martin Daly
  • Tradition Versus Democracy in the South Pacific: Fiji, Tonga and Western Samoa by Stephanie Lawson
  • Voyages: From Tongan Villages to American Suburbs Cathy A. Small

External links

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Tonga

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Kingdom of Tonga
Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga  (Tongan)
FlagCoat of arms
MottoKo e ʻOtua mo Tonga ko hoku tofiʻa
God and Tonga are my Inheritance
AnthemKo e fasi ʻo e tuʻi ʻo e ʻOtu Tonga
Capital
(and largest city)
Nukuʻalofa
21°08′S 175°12′W / 21.133°S 175.2°W / -21.133; -175.2
Official languagesTongan, English
DemonymTongan
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
 - KingGeorge Tupou V
 - Prime MinisterDr. Feleti Sevele
Independence
 - from British protectorateJune 4, 1970 
Area
 - Total748 km2 (186th)
289 sq mi 
 - Water (%)4.0
Population
 - 2009 estimate104,000[1] (195th)
 - Density139/km2 (76th1)
360/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2008 estimate
 - Total$554 million[2] 
 - Per capita$5,382[2] 
GDP (nominal)2008 estimate
 - Total$258 million[2] 
 - Per capita$2,510[2] 
HDI (2008)0.768[3] (medium) (99th)
CurrencyPaʻanga (TOP)
Time zone(UTC+13)
 - Summer (DST) (UTC+13)
Drives on theleft
Internet TLD.to
Calling code676
1Based on 2005 figures.

Tonga (pronounced [ˈtoŋa]), officially the Kingdom of Tonga (Tongan: Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga), an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprises 169 islands, 36 of them inhabited.[4] The Kingdom stretches over a distance of about 800 kilometres (500 miles) in a north-south line. The islands that constitute the archipelago lie south of Samoa, about one-third of the way from New Zealand to Hawaiʻi.

Tonga also became known to geographers as the Friendly Islands because of the friendly reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit in 1773. He happened to arrive at the time of the ʻinasi festival, the yearly donation of the first fruits to the Tuʻi Tonga, the islands' paramount chief, and received an invitation to the festivities. According to the writer William Mariner, in reality the chiefs had wanted to kill Cook during the gathering, but could not agree on a plan.[5]

Tonga, the only sovereign monarchy among the island nations of the Pacific Ocean, has a unique history as the only island nation in the region to have avoided formal colonial tutelage.[6] Tonga is poised to become a constitutional monarchy after legislations reforms, and a more fully representative election, takes place in 2010.

Contents

Etymology

In many Polynesian languages, the word tonga means "south". The name of Tonga derives from the word Tongahahake,[citation needed] which translates to "Southeast", originally meaning "the wind that blows from the Southeast". The proper pronunciation of the name 'Tonga' is /toŋa/[7], and not /tɒŋɡə/, a pronunciation used for an Indian carriage spelled in the same way and so causing confusion.

History

An Austronesian-speaking group linked to the archeological construct known as the Lapita cultural complex reached and colonized Tonga around 1500–1000 BCE.[8] (Scholars continue to debate the dates of the initial settlement of Tonga.) Reaching the Tongan islands (without modern navigational tools and techniques) was a remarkable feat accomplished by the Lapita peoples. Not much is known about Tonga before European contact because of the lack of a writing system during prehistoric times. But oral history has persisted, and Europeans have recorded it (and given it Eurocentric interpretations). (The Tongan people first encountered Europeans in 1616 when the Dutch vessel Eendracht made a short visit to the islands to trade.)

By the 12th century Tongans, and the Tongan paramount chief, the Tuʻi, had a reputation across the central Pacific, from Niue to Tikopia, leading some historians to speak of a 'Tongan Empire'. In the 15th century and again in the 17th, civil war erupted. Into this situation the first European explorers arrived, beginning in 1616 with the Dutch explorers Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire (who called on the northern island of Niuatoputapu), and in 1643 with Abel Tasman(who visited Tongatapu and Haʻapai). Later noteworthy European visitors included James Cook (British Navy) in 1773, 1774, and 1777, Alessandro Malaspina (Spanish Navy) in 1793, the first London missionaries in 1797, and the Wesleyan Methodist Walter Lawry Buller in 1822.

In 1845 the ambitious young warrior, strategist, and orator Tāufaʻāhau united Tonga into a kingdom. He held the chiefly title of Tuʻi Kanokupolu, but was baptised[by whom?] with the name King George. In 1875, with the help of missionary Shirley Waldemar Baker, he declared Tonga a constitutional monarchy, formally adopted the western royal style, emancipated the "serfs", enshrined a code of law, land tenure, and freedom of the press, and limited the power of the chiefs.

Tonga became a protected state under a Treaty of Friendship on 18 May 1900, when European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs tried to oust the second king. Within the British Empire, which posted no higher permanent representative on Tonga than a British Consul (1901–1970), Tonga formed part of the British Western Pacific Territories (under a colonial High Commissioner, then residing on Fiji) from 1901 until 1952. Although under the protection of Britain, Tonga is the only Pacific nation never to have given up its monarchical government as did Tahiti and Hawaiʻi. The Tongan monarchy unlike the UK follows a straight line of rulers.

The Treaty of Friendship and Tonga's protectorate status ended in 1970 under arrangements established by Queen Salote Tupou III prior to her death in 1965. Tonga joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970 (atypically as an autochthonous monarchy, that is one with its own hereditary monarch rather than Elizabeth II), and the United Nations in September 1999. While exposed to colonial pressures, Tonga has never lost indigenous governance, a fact that makes Tonga unique in the Pacific and gives Tongans much pride, as well as confidence in their monarchical system. As part of cost cutting measures across the British Foreign Service, the British Government closed the British High Commission in Nukuʻalofa in March 2006, transferring representation of British interests in Tonga to the UK High Commissioner in Fiji. The last resident British High Commissioner was Paul Nessling.[9]

Geography

Administratively Tonga sub-divides into five divisions: 'Eua, Ha'apai, Niuas, Tongatapu, and Vava'u.[10][11]

Politics

Tonga operates as a constitutional monarchy. Reverence for the monarch replaces that held in earlier centuries for the sacred paramount chief, the Tuʻi Tonga. Criticism of the monarch is held to be contrary to Tongan culture and etiquette. A direct descendant of the first monarch, King George Tupou V, his family, some powerful nobles, and a growing non-royal elite caste live in much wealth, with the rest of the country living in relative poverty. The effects of this disparity are mitigated by three factors: education, medicine, and land tenure.

Tonga provides for its citizens:

  • free and mandatory education for all
  • secondary education with only nominal fees
  • and foreign-funded scholarships for post-secondary education

Tongans enjoy a relatively high level of education, with a 98% literacy rate, and higher education up to and including medical and graduate degrees (pursued mostly overseas).

Tongans also have universal access to a national health care system. The Tongan constitution protects land ownership: land cannot be sold to foreigners (although it may be leased). While there is a land shortage on the urbanized main island of Tongatapu (where 70% of the population resides), there is farm land available in the outlying islands. The majority of the population engages in some form of subsistence production of food, with approximately half producing almost all of their basic food needs through farming, sea harvesting, and animal husbandry. Women and men have equal access to education and health care, and are fairly equal in employment, but women are discriminated against in land holding, electoral politics, and government ministries. However, in Tongan tradition women enjoy a higher social status than men[citation needed], a cultural trait that is unique among the insular societies of the Pacific.

Prime Minister Feleti Sevele

The pro-democracy movement in Tonga promotes reforms, including better representation in the Parliament for the majority commoners, and better accountability in matters of state. An overthrow of the monarchy itself is not part of the movement and the institution of monarchy continues to hold popular support, even while reforms are advocated. Until recently, the governance issue was generally ignored by the leaders of other countries, but major aid donors and neighbours New Zealand and Australia are now expressing concerns about some Tongan government actions.

Following the precedents of Queen Sālote, and the consel of numerous international advisors, the government of Tonga under King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV monetized the economy, internationalized the medical and education system, and enabled access by commoners to increasing forms of material wealth (houses, cars, and other commodities), education, and overseas travel. The government has supported Olympic and other international sports competition, and contributed Peacekeepers to the United Nations (notably to Bougainville and the Solomon Islands). The Tongan government also supported the American "coalition of the willing" action in Iraq, and a small number of Tongan soldiers were deployed, as part of an American force, to Iraq in late 2004. However, the contingent of 40+ troops returned home on 17 December 2004.[12] In 2007, a second contingent was sent to Iraq while two more were sent during 2008 to be part of Tonga's continuous support for the coalition. This Tongan involvement was finally concluded at the end of 2008 with no loss of Tongan life reported.

The previous king, Tāufaʻāhau and his government made some problematic economic decisions and are accused of wasting millions of dollars in poor investments.[13] The problems have mostly been driven by attempts to increase national revenue through a variety of schemes, considering making Tonga a nuclear waste disposal site (an idea floated in the mid-90s by the current crown prince);[14] selling Tongan Protected Persons Passports (which eventually forced Tonga to naturalize the purchasers, sparking ethnicity-based concerns within Tonga);[15] registering foreign ships (which proved to be engaged in illegal activities, including shipments for al-Qaeda);[16] claiming geo-orbital satellite slots (the revenue from which seems to belong to the Princess Royal, not the state);[17] holding a long-term charter on an unusable Boeing 757 that was sidelined in Auckland Airport, leading to the collapse of Royal Tongan Airlines;[18] building an airport hotel and potential casino with an Interpol-accused criminal;[citation needed] and approving a factory for exporting cigarettes to China (against the advice of Tongan medical officials, and decades of health promotion messaging).[19] The king has proved vulnerable to speculators with big promises and lost several million (reportedly 26 million USD) to Jesse Bogdonoff, a financial adviser who called himself the king's Court Jester.[13] The police have imprisoned pro-democracy leaders, and the government repeatedly confiscated the newspaper The Tongan Times (which was printed in New Zealand and sold in Tonga) because the editor had been vocally critical of the king's mistakes.[20] Notably, the Keleʻa, produced specifically to critique the government and printed in Tonga by pro-democracy leader ʻAkilisi Pōhiva, was not banned during that time. Pōhiva, however, had been subjected to harassment in the form of frequent lawsuits.[21]

In mid-2003 the government passed a radical constitutional amendment to "Tonganize" the press, by licensing and limiting freedom of the press, so as to protect the image of the monarchy. The amendment was defended by the government and by royalists on the basis of traditional cultural values. Licensure criteria include 80% ownership by Tongans living in the country. As of February 2004, those papers denied licenses under the new act included the Taimi ʻo Tonga (Tongan Times), the Keleʻa and the Matangi Tonga, while those which were permitted licenses were uniformly church-based or pro-government. The bill was opposed in the form of a several-thousand-strong protest march in the capital, a call by the Tuʻi Pelehake (a prince, nephew of the king and elected member of parliament) for Australia and other nations to pressure the Tongan government to democratize the electoral system, and a legal writ calling for a judicial investigation of the bill. The latter was supported by some 160 signatures, including seven of the nine elected "People's Representatives". The strong-arm tactics and gaffes have overshadowed the good that the aged king had done in his lifetime, as well as the many beneficial reforms of his son, ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho (Lavaka Ata ʻUlukālala), who was Prime Minister from January 3, 2000 to February 11, 2006.[neutrality is disputed] The former Crown Prince and current monarch, Tupoutoʻa, and Pilolevu, the Princess Royal, remained generally silent on the issue. In total, the changes threatened to destabilize the polity, fragment support for the status quo, and place further pressure on the monarchy.

In 2005 the government spent several weeks negotiating with striking civil-service workers before reaching a settlement. The civil unrest that ensued was not limited to just Tonga; protests outside the king's New Zealand residence made headlines, too. A constitutional commission is currently (2005–06) studying proposals to update the constitution.[22]

Prime Minister Prince ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho (Lavaka Ata ʻUlukālala) resigned suddenly on February 11, 2006, and also gave up his other cabinet portfolios. The elected Minister of Labour, Dr Feleti Sevele, replaced him in the interim.

On July 5, 2006 a driver in Menlo Park, California caused the deaths of Prince Tu'ipelehake ʻUluvalu, his wife, and their driver. Tu'ipelehake, 55, was the co-chairman of the constitutional reform commission, and a nephew of the King.

The Tongan public expected some changes when Siaosi Tupou V (later King George Tupou V) succeeded his father in 2006. On November 16, 2006, rioting broke out in the capital city of Nuku'alofa when it seemed that the parliament would adjourn for the year without having made any advances in increasing democracy in government. Pro-democracy activists burned and looted shops, offices, and government buildings. As a result, more than 60% of the downtown area was destroyed, and as many as 6 people died.[23]

On July 29, 2008 the Palace announced that King George Tupou V would relinquish much of his power and would surrender his role in day-to-day governmental affairs to the Prime Minister. The royal chamberlain said that this was being done to prepare the monarchy for 2010, when most of the first parliament will be elected, and added: "The Sovereign of the only Polynesian kingdom... is voluntarily surrendering his powers to meet the democratic aspirations of many of his people." The previous week, the government said the king had completed the sale of his ownership of state assets which had contributed to much of the royal family's wealth.[24]

Economy

File:Coin tonga.JPG
A Tongan one cent (seniti taha) coin

Tonga's economy is characterized by a large non monetary sector and a heavy dependence on remittances from the half of the country's population that lives abroad, chiefly in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The monetary sector of the economy is dominated and largely owned by the royal family and nobles. This is particularly true of the telecommunications and satellite services. Much of small business, particularly retail establishments on Tongatapu, is now dominated by recent Chinese immigrants who arrived under a cash-for-passports scheme that ended in 1998.

The manufacturing sector consists of handicrafts and a few other very small scale industries, all of which contribute only about 3% of GDP. Commercial business activities also are inconspicuous and, to a large extent, are dominated by the same large trading companies found throughout the South Pacific. In September 1974, the country's first commercial trading bank, the Bank of Tonga, opened. There are no patent laws in Tonga.[25]

Rural Tongans rely on plantation and subsistence agriculture. Coconuts, vanilla beans, bananas, coffee beans and root crops such as yams, taro and cassava, are the major cash crops. The processing of coconuts into copra and desiccated (dried) coconut was once the only significant industry but deteriorating prices on the world market has brought this once vibrant industry, as everywhere throughout the island nations of the south Pacific, to a complete standstill. In addition, the feudal land ownership system meant that farmers had no incentive to invest in planting long-term tree crops on land they did not own. Pigs and poultry are the major types of livestock. Horses are kept for draft purposes, primarily by farmers working their 'api 'uta (a plot of bushland). More cattle are being raised, and beef imports are declining. The export of squash to Japan once brought relief to a struggling economy but recently local farmers are increasingly wary of this market due to price fluctuations, not to mention the huge financial risks involved.

Tonga's development plans emphasize a growing private sector, upgrading agricultural productivity, revitalizing the squash and vanilla bean industries, developing tourism, and improving the island's communications and transportation systems. Substantial progress has been made, but much work remains to be done. A small but growing construction sector is developing in response to the inflow of aid monies and remittances from Tongans abroad. It remains to be said that the most significant contributor to Tonga's economy are remittances from Tongans living abroad. In recognition of such a crucial contribution, the present Tongan government has created a new department within the Prime Minister's Office with the sole purpose of catering for the needs of Tongans living abroad. Furthermore, the Tongan Parliament in 2007 amended citizenship laws to allow Tongans especially those living overseas to hold dual citizenship.

Efforts are being made to discover ways to diversify. One hope is seen in fisheries; tests have shown that sufficient skipjack tuna pass through Tongan waters to support a fishing industry. Another potential development activity is exploitation of forests, which cover 35% of the kingdom's land area but are decreasing as land is cleared. Coconut trees past their prime bearing years also provide a potential source of timber.

The tourist industry is relatively undeveloped; however, the government recognizes that tourism can play a major role in economic development, and efforts are being made to increase this source of revenue. Cruise ships often stop in Nukuʻalofa and Vavaʻu.

Vava'u in fact is well known for its whale watching, game fishing, surfing, beaches and is increasingly becoming a major player in the South Pacific tourism market.

Tonga’s postage stamps, which feature colorful and often unusual designs (including heart-shaped and banana-shaped stamps) are popular with philatelists around the world.[26]

Real estate companies have also just started to spring up in Tonga; as such, they were basically unheard of less than a decade ago. These have provided a way of making income for many Tongans as nearly every male Tongan has plots of land that he has never seen and the leasing of this valuable and attractive land allows the Tongan to live in a comfort not experienced before. There are also many Tongans who work as commission agents and earn a living by finding available land parcels and bringing them to local ex-pats or computer savvy Tongans to list on-line. Some of these so-called real estate companies have done more harm than good and one would be wise to be careful when dealing with them. However for the most part acquiring real estate in Tonga is a simple, straightforward and problem-free process.[citation needed]

In 2005 the country became eligible to become a member of the World Trade Organization, however on July 25, 2006 it was announced that Tonga has deferred its membership of the WTO until July next year according to the Tongan Prime Minister, Dr. Feleti Sevele.

The delay he said did not mean that Tonga was withdrawing its WTO membership application, but to give Tonga more time to improve its tariff system.

The Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) was incorporated in 1996 and endeavours to represent the interests of its members, private sector businesses, and to promote economic growth in the Kingdom.

Energy

Tonga is installing tailor-made policies to power its remote islands in a sustainable way – without turning to expensive grid-extensions. A number of islands within the Kingdom of Tonga are lacking basic electricity supply. In view of the decreasing reliability of fossil-fuel electricity generation, its increasing costs and negative environmental side-effects, renewable energy solutions have attracted the government’s attention. Together with IRENA, Tonga has charted out a renewable energy based strategy to power the main and outer islands alike. The strategy focuses on Solar Home Systems that turn individual households into small power plants. In addition, it calls for the involvement of local operators, finance institutions and technicians to provide sustainable business models as well as strategies to ensure the effective operation, management and maintenance once the systems are installed.[27]

Demographics

Demographics of Tonga, data of FAO, year 2005; number of inhabitants in thousands

Over 70% of the 101,991 inhabitants of the Kingdom of Tonga live on its main island, Tongatapu. Although an increasing number of Tongans have moved into the only urban and commercial centre, Nukuʻalofa, where European and indigenous cultural and living patterns have blended, village life and kinship ties continue to be important throughout the country. Everyday life is heavily influenced by Polynesian traditions and especially by the Christian faith; for example, all commerce and entertainment activities cease from midnight Saturday until midnight Sunday, and the constitution declares the Sabbath to be sacred, forever. Some Tongans are Methodists[28] with a significant Catholic minority and a number of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). The official figures from the latest government census of 2006 (cf. www.pmo.gov.to/tongastats) shows that the four major church affiliations in the kingdom currently stand as follows: Free Wesleyans (38,052 or 37%); The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ("Mormons") (17,109 or 17%); Catholics (15,992 or 16%); Free Church of Tonga (11,599 or 11%). By their own church statistics, Mormons claim 48 percent of the population to substantiate their claim that Tonga is the most Mormon nation in the world,[29] a phenomenon which has been remarked upon in such publications as Salon.[30]

Tongans, Polynesian by ethnicity with a very small mixture of Melanesian, represent more than 98% of the inhabitants. The rest are European (the majority are British), mixed European, and other Pacific Islanders. There were approximately 3,000 or 4,000 Chinese in Tonga in 2001, thus comprising 3 or 4% of the total Tongan population.[31] In 2006, Nukuʻalofa riots mainly targeted Chinese-owned businesses, leading to the emigration of several hundred Chinese.[32]

Primary education between ages 6 and 14 is compulsory and free in state schools. Mission schools provide about 8% of the primary and 90% of the secondary level of education. State schools make up for the rest. Higher education includes teacher training, nursing and medical training, a small private university, a woman's business college, and a number of private agricultural schools. Most higher education is pursued overseas.

The Tongan language is the official language of the islands, along with English. Tongan is a Polynesian language which is closely related to Wallisian (Uvean), Niuean, Hawaiian, and Samoan.

70% of Tongan women aged 15–85 are obese. Tonga and nearby Nauru have the world’s highest overweight and obese populations.[33]

Culture and diaspora

Tonga has been inhabited for perhaps 3,000 years, since settlement in late Lapita times. The culture of its inhabitants has surely changed greatly over this long time period. Before the arrival of European explorers in the late 1600s and early 1700s, the Tongans were in frequent contact with their nearest Oceanic neighbor, Fiji & Niue. In the 1800s, with the arrival of Western traders and missionaries, Tongan culture changed dramatically. Some old beliefs and habits were thrown away, and others adopted. Some accommodations made in the 1800s and early 1900s are now being challenged by changing Western civilization.

The start of a Tongan ula dance.

Contemporary Tongans often have strong ties to overseas lands. Many Tongans have emigrated to Australia, New Zealand, and the United States to seek employment and a higher standard of living. U.S. cities with significant Tongan American populations include Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Anchorage, Alaska; Inland Empire, California; San Mateo, California; East Palo Alto, California; San Bruno, California; Oakland, California; Inglewood, California; Los Angeles, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Honolulu, Hawaii; Reno, Nevada, and Euless, Texas (in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex). Large Tongan communities can also be found in Tutuila, American Samoa, Auckland, New Zealand, and in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. This Tongan diaspora is still closely tied to relatives at home, and a significant portion of Tonga's income derives from remittances to family members (often aged) who prefer to remain in Tonga.

Sport

Rugby union is the national sport in Tonga, and the national team ('Ikale Tahi or Sea Eagles) has performed quite well on the international stage. Although in recent years the national team has not performed as well as neighboring Samoa and Fiji, Tonga has competed in five Rugby World Cups, the first being in 1987. The 2007 Rugby World Cup was its most successful to date, with Tonga winning both of its first two matches, against the USA 25–15 and Samoa 19–15; and came very close to upsetting the eventual winners of the 2007 tournament, the South African Springboks, losing 30–25 in the end. They then lost to England 36–20 in their last pool game to end their hopes of making the knockout stages but were by no means disgraced. In fact, by picking up third place in their pool games behind South Africa and England, Tonga has since been rewarded with automatic qualification for the 2011 Rugby World Cup to be held in New Zealand.

Tonga's best result prior to 2007 came in 1995 when they won one game beating Ivory Coast 29–11, and 1999 when they won one game beating Italy 28–25 (although with only 14 men they lost heavily to England, 10–101). Tonga performs the "Sipi Tau" (war dance) before its matches. Tonga used to compete in the Pacific Tri-Nations against Samoa and Fiji which has now been replaced by the IRB Pacific 6 Nations involving as well Japan, the second string All Blacks (Junior All Blacks) and Wallabies (Australia A) although from 2008 the Junior All Blacks would be replaced by the Maori All Blacks. At club level, there are the Datec Cup Provincial Championship and the Pacific Rugby Cup. Rugby union is governed by the Tonga Rugby Football Union, which is also a member of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance. Tonga contributes to the Pacific Islanders rugby union team. Jonah Lomu, Viliami (William) 'Ofahengaue and George Smith, Wycliff Palu, Tatafu Polota-Nau are all of Tongan descent. Rugby is popular in the nation's schools and students from schools such as Tonga College, Tupou College are regularly offered scholarships from New Zealand, Australia and Japan.

Rugby league has also gained some success in Tonga. In the 2008 Rugby League World Cup Tonga recorded wins against Ireland and Scotland. In addition to the success of the national team, many players of Tongan descent make it big in the Australian National Rugby League competition. These include Willie Mason, Brent Kite, Willie Tonga, Anthony Tupou, Antonio Kaufusi, Israel Folau, Taniela Tuiaki, Michael Jennings, Feleti Mateo, Fetuli Talanoa, to name but a few. Subsequently, some Tongan Rugby League players have established successful careers in the British Super League.

Tongan Boxer Paea Wolfgram won the silver medal in the Super Heavyweight division (>91 kg) at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. He thus became one of the very few Polynesians or Pacific Islanders to win an Olympic medal, alongside Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (a.k.a. Duke Kahanamoku), a native Hawaiian.

Tongan women are known for being skillful jugglers.[34]

A number of US citizens of Tongan descent have made successful careers in American football. Euless' Trinity High School, the Texas state champion football team in 2007 and #1 ranked team nationally in 2008, has several Tongan players. Haloti Ngata is a professional football player in the NFL. Ngata is a defensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. Vai Sikahema, a native of Tonga, is a former NFL running back/kick returner, who now is a sportscaster in Philadelphia.[35] Ma'ake Kemoeatu, also born in Tonga, plays as a defensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers. His brother Chris Kemoeatu plays as an offensive guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Media

Regional distribution

  • Taimi o Tonga — Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, United States of America

Domestic distribution

  • Kele'a — Newspaper
  • Talaki — Newspaper
  • Kalonikali — Newspaper
  • Tau'ataina — Newspaper

See also

References

  1. ^ Department of Economic and Social AffairsPopulation Division (2009) (.PDF). World Population Prospects, Table A.1. 2008 revision. United Nations. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2008/wpp2008_text_tables.pdf. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Tonga". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=866&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=64&pr.y=5. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^ Human Development Report 2009. The United Nations. Retrieved 15 October 2009
  4. ^ "Pacific Islands Report #32261"PDF (33.8 KB), World Bank
  5. ^ Had they known of British colonization they might[original research?] have killed him anyway, as eventually happened in Hawaiʻi.Mr Korovulavula - Occasion of the Inaugural Flight Fiji/Tonga/Fiji Reception by Airlines Tonga, accessed April 16, 2008.
  6. ^ Country Profile: Tonga. BBC News.
  7. ^ C.M. Churchward, Tongan grammar. ISBN 0-908717-05-9
  8. ^ Kirch 1997 The Lapita Peoples
  9. ^ The sun finally sets on our men in paradise, published on The Daily Telegraph, March 21, 2005.
  10. ^ Population Census 2006: Population size, Trend, Distribution and Structure, Tonga Department of Statistics
  11. ^ Divisions of Tonga, Statoids.com
  12. ^ Iraq Coalition Troops, published on GlobalSecurity, August 18, 2005
  13. ^ a b http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/09/10/tonga.king.ap/index.html
  14. ^ December 1997
  15. ^ Tonga : In Depth : History | Frommers.com
  16. ^ The ships that died of shame - smh.com.au
  17. ^ Tongasat
  18. ^ Islands Business - No Govt Support Blamed for Airline Collapse
  19. ^ Articles:Listing Tonga
  20. ^ Pacific Journalism Review 1996 Tongan
  21. ^ Tongan Court Case Over Wrongful Imprisonment Recommences - July 31, 2002
  22. ^ No resolution in sight in Tonga, published on TVNZ, August 30, 2005
  23. ^ Riots
  24. ^ "Tonga's king to cede key powers". BBC News. July 29, 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7530209.stm. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  25. ^ Gazetteer - Patents at www.billanderson.com.au
  26. ^ Earl R. Hinz & Jim Howard (2006). Landfalls of Paradise: Cruising Guide to the Pacific Islands. University of Hawaii Press. p. 157. ISBN 0824830377. http://books.google.com/books?id=CjIg5FgUUW8C&pg=PA157&dq=tonga+postage+stamps&lr=&ei=gI_bSfPyFoy0yQSepenzCQ#PPA157,M1. 
  27. ^ http://www.irena.org
  28. ^ (cf. Ernst, Manfred/ Winds of Change. Suva: PCC, 1994, p. 146)
  29. ^ Wakeley, Alan B. "LDS Newsroom" LDS Church Statistical Information: Tonga, May 25, 2008 [1]
  30. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew. "The Mormons are coming." Salon, Sept. 20, 2007
  31. ^ "Editorial: Racist moves will rebound on Tonga", New Zealand Herald, November 23, 2001
  32. ^ "Flight chartered to evacuate Chinese in Tonga", ABC News, November 22, 2006
  33. ^ Welcome to the town that will make you lose weight - Times Online at www.timesonline.co.uk
  34. ^ The Juggling Girls of Tonga, Steve Cohen at www.juggling.org
  35. ^ [2]

Further reading

  • Ancient Tonga and the Lost City of Mu'a: Including Samoa, Fiji and Raratonga by David Hatcher Childress
  • The Art of Tonga by Keith St. Cartmail
  • Becoming Tongan: An Ethnography of Childhood by Helen Morton
  • Birds of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa by Dick Watling
  • A Guide to the Birds of Fiji and Western Polynesia: Including American Samoa, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Wallis and Futuna by Dick Watling
  • Guide to the Birds of the Kingdom of Tonga by Dick Watling
  • Lonely Planet Guide: Samoan Islands and Tonga by Susannah Farfor and Paul Smitz
  • Moon Travel Guide: Samoa-Tonga by David Stanley
  • Queen Salote of Tonga: The Story of an Era, 1900-65 by Elizabeth Wood-Ellem
  • Toki by Brian K. Crawford
  • Tonga by James Siers
  • The Tonga Book by Paul. W. Dale
  • Tonga: A New Bibliography by Martin Daly
  • Tradition Versus Democracy in the South Pacific: Fiji, Tonga and Western Samoa by Stephanie Lawson
  • Voyages: From Tongan Villages to American Suburbs Cathy A. Small

External links

Find more about Tonga on Wikipedia's sister projects:

Definitions from Wiktionary
Textbooks from Wikibooks
Quotations from Wikiquote
Source texts from Wikisource
Images and media from Commons
News stories from Wikinews
Learning resources from Wikiversity
Government
General information
News media (online only)

 

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