Thursday, 2 September 2010


Tane's blog entry on Melbourne (and the very exciting use of the new tag "Travel in Australia and the Pacific") reminded me of another great trip I did back in 2005 to Tonga. I'd always been curious about Tonga, largely because of having Tongan family connections. My Grandpa was born in Tonga in 1914 as his parents were missionaries there, and my aunt married a Tongan man as well so some of my cousins are Tongan. As I hadn't been to Tonga before, though, these connections meant nothing to me apart from the fact that having an ancestor born there before the 1930s means that I could buy land there should I choose. That, and they fact that I know the Tongan word for 'spicy'.
In 2005, Ngaire and I decided to visit my Uncle and Aunt there, and it was a great week. It was especially neat having them to show us around, give us information about the country, and in the case of my uncle, cut open many a coconut for us to drink. Awesome.

It's true what Tane always says - visiting places where you know someone are always the best. In those trips you gain a greater level of knowledge and appreciation about a place - for example, that the frequent power cuts in Tonga were caused by the then Crown Prince stringing up his Christmas lights. Ngaire and I were talking recently about how glad we are that we went to Tonga when we did, as our Uncle and Aunt live in New Zealand now so we wouldn't have been able to visit them there if we'd gone later. And really, with regard to places when you know someone, that would have been a real shame. I certainly wouldn't have been able to cut open coconuts on my own.

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