Tupou Tour, Day 5

Once again we arose early to another beautiful day in the forever amazing Tupou College. The day began with an early wake up at approximately 5:45am, followed by a morning prayer led by Sione and preparation for an early training run.

Whilst the rugby boys trained in the morning rain, the service learning boys visited the kindergarten to clean up the outdoor playground, as it was filled with seeds, pods, leaves, sticks and weeds from the surrounding area.

Pre-school clean-up

Pres-schol clean up 2

Following these activities, all the boys had much needed showers and a small amount of time to rest after their tiresome work in the early morning rain. Following this small rest the boys dressed in full blazer uniform, and attended the Monday morning assembly in the sacred Tupou Chapel, led by Mr. Quince. Hymns were sung and prayers were preached. This provided the Newington touring party with valuable lessons and even more cultural spirituality for us all to learn, respect and then share with others once our journey ends.

The boys then made their way to the library for a scrumptious breakfast provided by the hospitable Tongan women. This breakfast provided us all with the energy and morale to conquer all challenges that the day had to offer.

After breakfast, began the work of the day as the rugby boys sorted the remaining books and videos that were provided by the Newington community, while the service learning boys once again headed to the kindergarten area. However this time, instead of tidying, the boys provided the children with new toys and resources for their play and activities. This experience of providing joy to these children was a special highlight for us with Mr Quince not having attended the kindergarten before, let alone any boys.

pre-school gifts

Once this was completed the boys headed back to dormitory for few hours rest before lunch and the afternoon of rugby and other activities. Before lunch the boys made their way up to the library where we all met Steve Finau (ON ’66) who is regarded as one of the best sportsman who has ever attended Newington College. He provided us with touching words of advice and stories of the relationship between Tupou and Newington. We also heard about his tragic car accident with and the kindness of others to fund his rehabilitation. Following his words we ate another delectable meal, once again prepared by the Tongan wonder women.

Steve Finau

Following lunch, the rugby boys prepared for their game through necessary hydration. During the required hydration period, the service boys bounded into the science classroom with Diana Organ where they assisted the education of a class of Form 3 (year 9) Tupou boys. They learnt all about characteristics of native Australian animals as well as introduced species. It was a great experience to work with the Tupou students.

Di Teaching

Then arrived the moment all boys on the Toloa campus had been waiting for: the 15’s rugby game. The experience began with a warm up directed by head coach, Brad Gill (Newington 1st XV coach). Following the warm up, commentary by Asaike entertained the crowd, whilst Newington boys made team speeches to motivate the boys. Rugby captain, Byron Blaik, had the main say and more or less told the boys to do what they had been doing all season long. In no time, the Tupou team ran out, and said a brief bible verse to wish them the best in their game. Newington then ran out and sung the Australian National Anthem which was played by the Toloa brass band, followed by the Tongan National Anthem which was sung by the Tupou rugby team and all Tupou boys. A moment of silence was necessary and respects were paid to a Tupou boy who had tragically passed away during the week. Shortly before kick off, guests of honour, Cameron Quince and the Deputy Principal of Tupou College, met all members of the opposing teams.

The game began with Tupou kicking off to Newington. An early penalty was awarded to Newington, however the possession was fairly even, due to mistakes made by both sides. As play continued Newington applied more pressure and held their defence admirably. Soon enough there was a defining moment when the Tupou winger dropped the kick made by Newington, which was recovered by Newington which led to a try in the corner for Cameron ‘Muzza’ Murray. Unfortunately the conversion was unsuccessful with the ball hitting the crossbar, keeping the score at 5-0. Play continued with forward play being a big part in both team’s tactics. Fortunately this led to another Newington try by Hamish Duvall. Again the conversion was missed and the score remained 10-0. As time passed, a magnificent catch made by Zac Newton turned the play around and with some simple backs play, Newington scored a third time through Adam Miller. This time the conversion was successful and the score moved to 17-0.

Zac Rugby Game 1

Play continued and eventually half time was reached. Te halftime ntertainment was provided by the brass band for the crowd. Throughout the song, Mr. Quince and Mr. Corcoran provided a laugh for everyone with their dancing and motorbike impersonation.

Newington kicked off to begin the second half. Physical play and big hits were on show from both teams. High pressure was applied and eventually, the Newington defence cracked. Pick and drive play from Tupou College led to a try in the corner. The conversion fell just short and the score remained at 17-5. Play continued and Newington hit back with an excellent run by Cameron Murray as he evaded several defenders and scored under the posts. The conversion was successful from the captain, Byron Blaik. The score moved to 24-5. Tupou then hit back quickly however they where held up by the strong Newington defence, holding up the ball then taking a tight head scrum win. Although Tupou were playing physically, the Newington backs played very well which lead to a try to Tyrone Taukamo with his Tongan relatives going wild. The conversion was unsuccessful and the score was 29-5. Tupou had one last bite at the biscuit; however, the Newington defence held them up, once again. The game concluded and Newington won their first game in the four year history of the tour to Toloa.

After the rugby, there were three presentations made by Mr. Gill. These included man of the match, who was given a combined GPS jersey, the match ball to the Tupou captain and finally a set of jerseys to the team from Randwick Rugby Club. After the game and presentation, all the boys went back to shower and rest before dinner.

Group Shot Post Game 1

Dinner was quite the feast including another huge roasted pig and various other side dishes. This meal satisfied all the boys, especially those involved in rugby. Due to the win, the Tongan women treated the boys to a magnificent desert of ice cream and cake. The boys were perhaps overfilled.

Following the victorious feast, we found a new friend. The puppy, who we named Peanut, was regarded by all as the cutest thing we’d ever seen. However, the white Labrador was discovered to have fleas and was quickly evicted and then escorted from the dormitory. This action killed us all on the inside and we reflected on the short, amazing time with our friend Peanut.

Moana & Peanut

So ended another day in paradise for the Newington boys in Tonga.

By Tom Sanders and Gus Lukes.

Tupou Tour, Day 4

Chapel Small

On Sunday we were woken up at 6:30am by Sione, our Tongan big brother. Sunday in Tonga is a day of prayer and rest and is the biggest day of the week. You are not allowed to do any physical activity without personal consent of the king and you have to only wear long pants.

We got into our full blazer uniform, our best clothes, to look good and formed a guard of honour for the Tupou students who marched into the chapel. They were wearing their Sunday whites and were impressive, as always.

Sunday Chapel Marching

We then had a long and moving chapel service with many amazing songs from the Tupou boys, hymns and prayers. Mr Corcoran’s sermon was a standout as he was the first Newington staff member to be invited to give the sermon at their Sunday service. We also had two students, Zac Newton and Tyrone Taukamo, reading hymns in the Tongan language in front of the whole Tupou College. Everyone was impressed.

We then rested for a couple of hours until we were called to the dining hall for the Sunday feast. The Sunday Feast is an opportunity for the Toloa community to come together to eat and discuss their activities throughout the week. It is also an opportunity to come together on God’s Holy Day and dine in his presence.

Sunday Feast

We were sat in an alternating seating arrangement, this was to allow for further communications and relations between Tupou staff and students and Newington staff and students. Another aim of the Sunday feast in Tonga is to bring people together through a meal no matter how unfamiliar with each other they may be.

After our stomachs had been filled to the brim with the biggest feast we had ever seen, we were guided around the farm by Sione. We visited the cows, which get milked twice a day. We also saw the chickens then went to the pigs and got to hold some of the piglets.

In the late evening we had a house choir singing assembly. It was very clear early in the assembly that their house choirs were far better than ours- the singing was amazing. During this assembly Tom Serhon spoke about the Newington school Moto ‘in fide scientiam’ (to your faith add knowledge) and Jonathan McConnell spoke in regards to what a Newington boy can take home from Topou.

Night Chapel

We finished the day with another feast and a prayer by Sione. Sunday was a day of rest, prayer and reflection. It is a very meaningful day for Tongans and for us. We enjoyed stepping out of our usual daily rituals and diving into Tongan culture.

By Nathan Lawson and Max McKay

Tupou Tour, Day 3

Saturday started differently to Thursday and Friday mornings, as on Friday we had met Sione, an old boy, English and science teacher of Tupou College, Toloa. Sione introduced a very old, cultural Tongan tradition of praying at the beginning and at the end of every day.

After our morning prayer and a quick clean up of the dorm we headed over to breakfast. Breakfast as usual was impeccably tasty and was a delight to eat as always. Breakfast includes foods such as sausages, bacon, fried eggs, baked beans and toast. This breakfast was very special for the boys as we were enlightened by the heartfelt words of Fipe, a Science Teacher, who opened up to us and wore her heart on her sleeve, explaining to us how lucky they are to receive the gifts out of the crate. She then told us about her science class and how for the past three years the whole Science department has shared one dropper and only she can do the experiments in class as they do not have enough equipment for all the boys to do them as well. However, now because of the generosity of the Newington community, within a few moments they went from limited equipment to a large aray of equipment. This included how the science department went from one dropper to now having three hundred. Fipe’s inspiring and emotional speech has made us collectively realise how something that we may take for granted can make such a big difference to Tupou College.

Hoi & Di

After breakfast we were told to rest and relax for a while before leaving to the beach. Some boys went for a walk up to the school farm with some Tupou boys and checked out the pigs, chickens and the cattle of the farm. Some boys played touch with some of the other Tupou boys who didn’t go home on Friday afternoon because of either punishment, their home is on a different island and it would take to long for them to go back and forth to home on Friday or they just wanted to stay around with us. And some of the boys went and rested in bed to catch up on some precious sleep.

At around 11:30 we boarded the Tupou college bus destined for Fua’amotu beach. Before we reached the beach we went sightseeing, shopping, visiting shops, witnessing Tongan culture and landscape. We finally arrived at the beach and all the boys were more than ready for a swim in the warm, tropical waters of Tonga. Even though Mr Quince continuously warned us about the coral and rocks in the water and to mind your feet, boys still cut their feet. The strong risk of infection meant that these boys needed to be treated by the tour clinic, Ms Organ. After swimming, we were treated with a meal delivered directly to the beach, provided by the beautiful ladies of Tupou. Lunch looking over the tropical reef and still waters of Fua’amotu Beach gave an insight into the beauty of Tonga.

We returned back to the college to have a short rest, a shower and to get changed into some nice clothes for our trip out to dinner at Little Italy. Little Italy is a small restaurant that Is just down the road from the Royal Palace and across the road from a different beach that we had already visited that day. We were joined for dinner by some Tongan Old Boy families: Tevita Vea’s mother and sister, Ricky T’s father and Moana Liseli, an old Newingtonian himself. Also joining us were the ladies of Tupou who had been cooking for us, the Head Prefect, Isileli Eke, Prefect Toni Vailahi, plus our Tongan brother Sione and his brother……… We were treated to a great meal of either pasta or pizza which all the boys enjoyed and wanted more of.

Little Italy

At the end of our long, very special and enjoyable day everyone was very exhausted and were falling asleep on the bus trip back to our new home. When arriving home the boys of Tupou were fast asleep and the silence of the college was amazing; just to stand there and listen to nothing was glorious.

We ended this spectacular day with a short prayer from Adam Goodman praying that everyone would remain safe through the night and awake refreshed and happy the next day. This was followed by a few words from Sione, our Tongan brother, telling us about some other Tongan traditions that will happen on a normal and cultural Sunday.

By Hamish Duvall and Tom Atkinson