I am a Palangi - "White Person" and have been married to a Tongan man named Sam, or if you might Samu (the Tongan version of his shortened name which is Samuela Mailangi... something I will explain) for 13 years (in June).
When we were married I tried to get him to tell me what his last name was, honestly he was torn... his mothers family had raised him, they were the Lavulavu's, his father had played no role in his life. So he told me his last name was Lavulavu, thus saying I became a Lavulavu. But that is not our last name now, now it is Vanisi. A story unto itself.
My first encounter with Tongans (though I didn't know it) was when his cousin Sifa moved into our school, I thought he was a black kid, he was popular. Then he moved out again only to come back during middle school. I didn't think too much of it until his family moved next door to mine. Then I thought, "Yes!! If they are my friends, I will be popular and protected from people that pick on me."
So one of the first questions that I asked them was "uh, are you from Hawaii or something?" Me with my grand knowledge of the world. To this they sort of snickered, (can't remember who it was I asked, probably the oldest daughter Senita), then she told me they were from Tonga. "Ah, where is that?" Well Tonga is near Figi, Australia and is part of the Galapagos group of Islands (I believe I got that part right, though I probably misspelled it).
They are an independent kingdom, never taken over by another power, unique as such, among the many islands kingdoms surrounding it. In fact a bit of news in this regards is a unique happening for my husbands family. His uncle Etuate Lavulavu has just been appointed by the king as one of the governors of the country. There are two, one from Vavau (my husbands island of origin) and from Tongatapu. This post is usually only given to those who are a part of the kings family, so it has been a major source of pride for the family.
Anyway, the story as I know it of Tongans and their ways is a very lengthy subject. Hard to deal with by my other blogs, so I thought I would create one just to talk about Tongans. Why not? They are an interesting people.
Now for a little Tongan proverb (of which I have a little collection, in a Tongan dictionary, of which the bulk of them are about yams).
Fakatu'amelie Ki He'ete Me'a 'Oku Tau He Fu'u Telie
Looking forward hopefully to my thing that is hanging from the telie tree.
Na'e 'i ai 'a e talanoa fuoloa ki hono tautau ha taunga 'i ha fu'u 'akau ma'a ha taha kehe. Kapau ko e me'akai lelei mo ifo nai'e tau leva 'i ha fu'u telie, ka kapau ko e me'akai olioli pe, na'e tau ia 'i ha fu'u tavahi. 'A ia na'a te 'amanaki lelei ki he me'akai he fu'u telie kau 'ikai ki he me'akai he fu'u tavahi. Ko e 'amanaki lelei ki ha taha pe ko ha me'a.
There was an old story about hanging food in a basket from a tree for someone else to get. If the food was good and tasty, it was hung from a telie tree, but if ordinary and not very appetizing, it was hung from the tavahi tree. So one looked forward to food from the telie tree, not from the tavahi. This saying is used generally of looking forward to something good from someone or something.
I will put up pictures that I get from Tonga, and Sam's relatives which are interesting. When I get the chance, as for now this is the start.
Malo 'aupito (Thank you very much).
Ofa' Lahi Atu (I love you all very much).