Sunday 15 July
On Sunday 15 July, the Newington touring party joined Tupou College at the Sunday chapel service, which was hosted by Rev. Feleti Atiola, the principal of Tupou College, Toloa. The Chapel service was a great experience for all the boys as we got to experience life as a Toloa boy at church. The Choir sung beautiful songs acknowledging the presence of god, and the Brass Band accompanied the College in the singing of hymns. On Sundays the Tongan community isn’t allowed to do any sort of work or sports; this is a chance for everyone to socialise and spend time with their families. To be able to do any sort of work or sports you need written permission from the King. All the Toloa boys wore their white gown and traditional skirt.
One of our favourite parts of the day – besides the lovely singing of all the Toloa boys – was the huge feast which we received at lunch. At the lunch, we met important people in the Tongan community, and this was a great chance to learn more about the way of life in Tonga. The tables were laden with masses of food, and we all enjoyed the delicious feast of pig, fruit, omelettes, yam salad, garden salad, yams and corned beef.
Leading into the evening, we had the privilege of attending the Tupou College Polotu service, which is a religious celebration filled with amazing music and speeches. We enjoyed a few touching speeches which were made including Mr Quince who spoke about how thankful he is for Dr Mulford for keeping the connection with our two schools strong and lively, and also about the opportunities for our boys to experience in Tonga. Callum Stewart made a really nice and heart-warming speech on behalf of the boys and said that the welcome in to Tonga was really comforting.
Today was an amazing opportunity for us to experience the Tongan culture, and we feel very lucky to have experienced this.
– Callum Latham & Connor McManus
Monday 16 July
On Monday the 16th of July, the Newington touring party had the pleasure to attend the Tongan classes. After a short assembly, the boys paired up with a Toloa boy and headed straight for the books. Throughout the day it was clearly evident that every Newington boy was welcomed and treated as though they were part of the Toloa family. The boys felt like they truly mattered to the Tongan people, as their generosity and caring nature truely shined through throughout the day.
During these classes, the boys were able to socialise with many of the Tongan boys, learning much about their culture as well as making new friends. During the short breaks, boys were practically pulled apart by Tongans wanting them to come to their classes. Lunch came after 4 periods had finished, and the boys were bombarded with food offerings from Toloa boys. Many questions came during the last 3 periods, and both our boys and the Toloa boys were happy to answer anything that was thrown at them.
After school, the boys went back to the dorm and got fired up for the big rugby game. All the rugby boys got on the field and the chanting started. Despite all of our efforts, the Toloa boys finished on top by 7 to 0 in what was a thrilling game between the two brother schools. Another game with mixed teams was also played, evoking lots of fun and friendly rivalry between the two schools.
– Rory Fletcher and Aaron Mueller