Service Learning & Under 15 Rugby Tour to Tupou College 2014. (Final Blog post)

On the final day of our fantastic experience, we woke at about 7am on Thursday. As we headed for our morning Chapel service, the silence was “deafening” in anticipation of our impending homeward bound direction. Our final morning assembly was again filled with inspiring hymns and prayers, this time, especially to assist us on our forth coming journey home. After morning assembly, we grouped for a final tour photo, in front of a memorial for Dr. James Egan Moulton. Group Photo Our party headed off for the last breakfast where we were served again with large quantities of yam, bacon, cereal and other dishes. During breakfast Mr Quince read out a speech which one of the Tupou College boys, who was truly sad to see us go, had left in our dorm. The speech expressed gratitude for us being there and was very touching. Letter from Tupou Student 2014 Part 1 Letter from Tupou Student 2014 Part 2 After breakfast, we were given an hour or two to make the dorm as clean as best we could, as well as attend to our bag packing. As we waited for the bus to arrive, we said our final goodbyes, to all the friends that we had made over the past eventful, fun filled, days. It was sad leaving this amazing College, which had generously accommodated us and spoiled us with the best food that they could offer. The preparation and the sacrifices the School, the parents and the friends made for us was extraordinary. The students were the most welcoming and happy people we had ever met. To leave them behind filled us with great sadness, knowing that most things we had back at home were great luxuries in Tonga. The generous hospitality of the Tongans extended even to the boarding of the plane. Rev. Aisake Haukinima distributed a final lunch to all of us that was prepared by those diligent Ladies and students of Tupou College. The Headmaster, Rev. Feleti Atiola and a large group of Tupou College staff, parents and friends, all bid us farewell. It was tough to say farewell. Customs clearance ran smoothly and departure occurred on time at 3:30 pm (Tongan time) with arrival on time at Sydney at 6:40 pm. As the various child seeking parents, guardians and friends awaited to collect us, each student had the pleasure of thanking the accompanying Newington staff. May I express, on behalf of the participating Newington students, a special gratitude goes to Mr Bosman, Mr. & Mrs. Van Asperen, Mr Muir and Mr Quince who had all tried to make this tour as interesting and life-changing as possible.

By Christopher Wood

2014 Tupou College Service Learning and Under 15 Rugby Tour Post # 7

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On our final evening at Tupou college we experienced a farewell from the Tupou students, staff and families of Toloa.

We were treated to another fantastic meal including a roast pig and various other Tongan dishes such as yam, sweet potato, Lu and Tongan Fried Chicken.

Following our meal we made our way to the Dining Hall for a fun packed and emotional farewell ceremony that included such things as Tupou Colleges War Cry’s, as well as a Sipi Tau (Tongan War Cry, similar to a Haka) Tongan Dance games, some typically awesome singing, Brass Band, Traditional Dance and comedy acts from the Tupou Boys and many heart felt speeches from staff and students.

Our first game of the night saw 10 Tupou college boys on the dance floor with 10 Newington boys in front of the whole school and many families (approximately 800 people). The rules were once the music stopped you had to freeze and if you moved you were eliminated from the game so that as the dancing went on, one by one boys were eliminated until there were only 2 left, Finn Kearns and a Tupou boy were head to head in the battle. Since it was the last round the rules were altered and the boys had to dance for 10 seconds and at the end the winner was decided by the amount of noise made by the crowd. In spite of the Newington Boys efforts to prove their love for Tupou contestant and cheer him over the line, Finn Kearns won the game with his legendary disco dance moves.

On the night there were heart-warming speeches produced by the Newington staff and boys. We were reminded that this was sometimes a one sided relationship and Newington our boys always learn so much from this opportunity to live on the Tupou College campus. Tupou College have little in material wealth compared to Newington College but they have a rich culture and a very tight community. They taught us about such things as spirituality, sharing, how to work hard, respect for others and self-discipline.

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Steve Muir produced a wonderful performance with his guitar and sang alongside his son Daniel who helped in the vocals section. Steve played Hallelujah and everyone sang the chorus.

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The New boys were invited onto the performance area by Rev. Aisake Haukinima and performed 2 war chants: “I’m a New boy ’til I die” and “Good Old Newington Forever”. We were then taught a big lesson of how war-cry’s should be done by the Tupou College boys with their response!

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At the end of an entertaining night that was fun as well as a cultural experience for all of us the U/15’s Tupou College team presented all the New boys with gifts of thanks. The New boys got such gifts as necklaces and tongan carvings, which meant a lot to them as well as a Tupou College tie. The night then ended from a speech by the Principal, Rev. Alifeleti Atiola, where he encouraged us to share the lessons that we learnt in Toloa and Tonga with our family and friends, we are sure that we do so and will treasure this experience forever.

Ronan Eruini-Bennett, Chris Wood and Angus Duvall.

2014 Tupou College Service Learning and Under 15 Rugby Tour Post # 6

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We awoke early today and attended breakfast with the Tupou boys. After being spoilt by our hosts this meal was a real eye-opener as we saw how tough life is as a Tongan student. Breakfast consisted of cassava dumplings prepared over an open fire in broth. This tasted a little plain mashed potato. It was very difficult for all of us to believe that this is the daily diet for a Tupou boy. We all agreed that something needs to be do to improve their diet.

 

 

 

 

 

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After another delicious lunch meal made by the beautiful families at Tupou college, all the boys were divided into groups and either started preparing for an Aussie BBQ we would be putting on later that night or embark on opening the shipping container of donated goods. The boys who went to the container opened it and were amazed by the generous donations contributed by the wider Newington community.

 

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The cooking boys began by chopping everything needed and preparing all the meat for the BBQ. Some boys peeled and chopped cucumber while others deboned and marinated chicken or watched some of the Tongan boys put a pig on the spit. Chris Icanovski and Lachlan White took charge of the BBQ. This event was called the “Aussie BBQ”  as we were trying to give the beautiful host families and also the Tupou College under 15  Rugby team a taste of our culture in Australia.

Once everyone got to the event, there was food prepared by the Newington boys and also Mr Van Aspren and Amamda Van Asperen. There was wonderful singing from some of the Tupou college staff and many speeches including one from former Australian Wallabies No. 8 Viliami (Willie) Ofenahengaue. This night was also great as the Tupou boys and the Newington boys were mixed in together and able to engage in some great conversations.

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On a whole this day was one of the best days of the tour because we were able to socialise with the Tupou boys, we got to repay the beautiful hosts from Tupou a little bit, and also got to spend some time with our mates from Newington.

Patrick McCormack, Peter Kosmas, Liam Janson

 

2014 Tupou College Service Learning and Under 15 Rugby Tour Post # 5

After a big feast on Sunday, the Newington boys woke up on Monday morning excited as it was game day.

It was an early 6:00am start because we were invited to attend the morning assembly that consisted of Prayers, Singing and our Official Welcoming Speechs including a great speech from the Principal of Tupou College, Rev. Alifeleti Atiola. This assembly was also significant because it signified the start of a new term for Tupou College.

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After assembly we headed to breakfast and were accompanied by the Head Prefect (Tevita Okusi) who had been staying with us in the dormitory. After breakfast the Newington boys went back to the dorm briefly and then were each partnered with one Tupou boy who would take them to each of their classes. The partnered Tupou student didn’t just take the Newington boy to classes though they would take them for a tour of the school to show them around the school, taking them to places like the pig farm, the bush and also show them around the campus. It was great to have the boys around now that school term had finally started!

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After another great lunch (including yummy fish sandwiches and Breadfruit Fries!) we went to our dormitory and everyone in the Rugby Team got changed into their playing gear. We moved out onto the field to do a light “Captains Run” before the game as the crowd was gradually building and the preparations for the game by Tupou College were reaching completion.

The Tupou boys were making their way around the fields and sat down in two different crowds, one would cheer for Tupou and one for Newington.

After a huddle with Mr Muir and the team, we were ready to play! We walked to the other side of the pitch and we did the Tongan tradition and bowed and prayed in front of the Newington supporters. We then stood with linked arms next to the Tupou side and the band played both the Australian and that Tongan national anthem.

Sam revved us up before the game in a huddle called the war cry before the game alongside James Haldane.

The game then got under way. It was a tough start. The first kick off was unfortunately a knock on and the ball rolled into touch. This challenging start left our spirits low for the rest of the first half which unfortunately saw us with two injuries, no points to Tupou’s 8 and our team never carrying  the ball past Tupou’s 40 metre line.

 

 

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The Tupou boys did not let up and as we held up a relentless attack we found ourself running into the iron wall that was the Tupou boys defence. After a turnover in the last few minutes of the game the Tupou boys would yet again prove themselves and push us back down the field and score once again. We attacked as vigorously as we could but no matter how hard we worked no matter how much we panicked our ferocious work rate was nothing compared to a calm and in control Tongan team. We fought for as long and as hard as we could and some speculated that if there was another 25 minute period the result would have been different, but becoming focused in the second half was much too late for Newington and Tupou used this to their advantage. Tupou didn’t let in another try resulting in a final score of 18 to 5 to Tupou. We all knew we worked our hardest but it wasn’t enough compared to the Tupou boys at peace playing style and minimal worry.

By Ned Churchyard and Sam Maley

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2014 Tupou College Service Learning and Under 15 Rugby Tour Post # 4

We woke up at 6:30 and got ready for breakfast at 7:30. At around 7 we went up to the dining area and for the first time this trip we helped prepare our meal and set up our tables, it was long overdue given how hard our Tupou family had been working.

After a light breakfast (we requested it as the Sunday feast in Tonga is generally large compared to other meals) we got ready for Chapel. We were met outside our dorm and we marched alongside the Tupou College boys and their Marching Band.

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Mr Van Asperen delivered the sermon for the Sunday Service. This is a great honour and we were all impressed by the message that he delivered “I can hear you speaking but your actions are talking louder than your words”. An extract from this service:

 “….. there is an important realisation we must come to – the hospitality of Tupou College teaches us a lot about God and the grace of Jesus Christ. Like your hospitality, grace is abundant, free-flowing and filled with goodness – and yes, the relationship may seem so incredibly unequal and the circumstances so unfair, but it is an example of selflessness that, I believe, can save the world.

What shall we, the Newington guests, do now that such an example of God’s grace has been set before us?

This is the same challenge the Apostle Paul lays down in his letter to the Romans. Shall we continue our lives of sin, greed and entitlement so that the grace of God and others’ generosity may increase? No. Paul writes, ‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed.”

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James Haldane, Henry Mellor, Jordan Paea and Lachlan White read various Bible readings that related to this theme. Throughout the service the Tupou boys and staff performed various hymns perfectly and Mr Muir performed for us too and it was much appreciated.

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Near the end of the service, we were invited to Communion as it is given on the first Sunday of every month at Tupou College. This is the first time that Newington Boys and staff have been present for a communion at Toloa.

Following the service, Mr Quince introduced all of the touring party to the school community before we assembled outside the chapel and marched across the field and back to the school with the Tupou boys.

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Later that day we had a huge feast with the Tupou community and various special guests and we all felt like kings. The amount of food that was presented to us was out of this world and I’m sure all the boys appreciated it. During the feast there were a few speeches delivered from various people. Firstly a Tongan Newington old boy, Ricky T, gave a very moving speech which touched the hearts of everyone in the room. He was followed by Mr Bosman, then an inspiring 17 year old girl from the Gold Coast (Tani Stubbs) who has done some charity work for Tupou High School and other schools in Tonga.

Alex Lorquet presented 10 violins & violas on behalf of the Newington College Music Department to enhgance the resources that Tupou Collegecurrently have.They introduced strings in 2014 so I am sure they are much appreciated.

Mr Quince gave a speech about the strong relationship between Tupou and Newington. After this we went back to the dorm and rested as on Sunday sport and work is not allowed in Tonga and we respected these wishes.

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On Sunday night we returned to the Chapel for a service known as a “Polotu”. These take place following an important day of celebration and invlove more Musical performances than a Sunday Service.

Amanda Van Asperen performed as a memeber of the Tupou College Brass Band and Ryan Gigg played a violin as part of the Tupou College Strings Group.

During the Polotu, Jacob Sullivan and and Tupou Boys Ha’ano were the student vioce and Elanoa (Computing Teacher at Tupou College) spoke from the heart about our unique relationship. Mr Quince delivered a speech about Tupou College being Newington College’s twin Brother. Each boy has a different personality but we have similar values as we are part of the same family and we were raised by the same father – Rev Dr James Egan Moulton.

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This was a very special day for our tour and we were very fortunate to be a part of it.

by Lachlan White

2014 Service Learning & Under 15 Rugby Tour Post # 3

During the second night of our stay in Tonga, we attended a Newington College Tongan Old Boys dinner including those Tongan boys who attended Newington College.

Steve Finau, Roderick Kavaefiafi Louniutaha Tu’ihalangingie (aka “Ricky T”) and Mesui Tufui were some of the Tongan ONU present. Tevita Vea, Mesui Tufui, Roderick Tu’ihalangingie, Siaosi Atiola and Teu Atiola’s fa,milies were all present too. Other Tongan families offered their apologies for not being able to be present due to the annual Church Conference in Vava’u and some family Funerals.

It was a great opportunity to further increase the relationship we have between Tupou College, Newington College and Tonga. When dinner came our appetites were definitely fulfilled as the food was great in which it included pig, beef, chicken and various seafood.

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We also had a chance to experience the fun and musical nature of the Tongan culture by listening to a DJ and watching a cultural and sometimes amusing floor show. After some chat the crowd took a moment to witness the amazing dancing of individual students. There were some great individual performances before it was time for us to head back to Tupou College and get ready for new adventures the following day.

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Steve Dan Sam Ricky Mesui

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Mesui, Cameron & Roderick

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On the third day of the Service Learning and Rugby tour we had a sleep-in! We got home late and we fell asleep quickly. Once we had finished another huge breakfast, Henry Mellor said the prayer of thanks. He was the first Newington boy of this tour to say a prayer. We returned to the dorm and we relaxed for a while before we got on the bus to go to Tonga College to watch the Tupou College 1st XV play Tonga College. After a tough and very physical game between the rival schools Tupou College came out on top with a 31-15 win against Tonga College.

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Once the game had finished we got back on the bus and we headed off to the blowholes. The first part that caught our eyes were the extremely large waves which created a large spray of cold water.  From the concrete platform we were viewing this from we were able to be sprayed from the water. Back on the bus we were served great sandwiches that the staff members made for us.

On the way home we visited the house of Old Newingtonian Steve Finau.  We saw the house that was built for him by the ONU after his tragic car accident. This was a great life-experience as we saw first-hand what the ONU network did for a friend in need and we appreciated Steve’s honesty and candid recount of how his house was built to meet his needs.

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We returned home to Toloa to another fantastic feast prepared by the Atiola family and the boys and staff of Tupou College. The heart-warming hospitality from our friends at Toloa seems to have no boundaries.

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We look forward to the next chapter of our Tongan experiences.

 

 

2014 Service Learning & Rugby Tour Post # 2

Boarding House

 

After arriving home from watching the rugby we relaxed at the boarding house until the bell was rung (which means dinners ready).

We had another great Tongan meal including a whole roasted pig, Lu (salted beef wrapped in tarot leaves and roasted in cocunut oil) and Tongan style fried chicken prepared by the mothers, boys and staff of Tupou College. After a few heart felt speeches we headed back to the dorms and all got a good nights rest before Rugby training in the morning.

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We all woke up at 6.30 to the sound of Will Mayer’s alarm which was going for 10 mins as Will was sleeping on it and couldn’t get it. We were due at the field at 7 am for an intense rugby training session. We split into forwards and backs and trained in our positions for much anticipated game on Monday.

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After having a nice cold shower, we were treated to very welcoming Tongan breakfast with an Aussie touch of Vegemite!

We then split in half and played a match of touch with/against the 1st XV.

As planned we headed off to the beach but with a nice scenic route. We saw where some kings lay in their tombs/graves, Captain Cook’s landing spot and an ancient Tongan Sundial .

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After this we arrived at ‘Oholei Beach where we all played a game of “Kick Volleyball” including Mr Muir’s son (Dan) who is 8 years old who tackled anyone who wouldn’t play by the rules. We returned to Tupou College to prepare for a reunion dinner with Tongan ONU and their families.

Overall, we are all having a great time and can’t wait to do more.

by Mitchell Fitzsimmons, Quinn McGlone, and Jordan Paea

2014 Service Learning & U/15 Rugby Tour to Tupou College – Post # 1

Aeroplane GroupAfter an easy flight and touch down at 2am the entry through customs brief where we were greeted by our new family Tupou College including Rev Alifeleti Atiola as well as numerous staff and students and given floral leis. We were welcomed warmly and after a short bus trip we arrived at Tupou College. Tired, hungry and thirsty the staff had been kind enough to provide an excellent meal for the Newington boys. Their hospitality was greatly appreciated. The Principal and staff were very generous by setting up an extremely comfortable boarding house at their own expense. We were allowed about 5 hours sleep prior to be woken up at 9:00AM by Rev Aisake Haukinima. We proceeded to a delicious ‘brunch’ prepared several hours before we awoke. All the boys were once again overwhelmed by the staff’s genoristy and kindness.

After the delicious breakfast we boarded the school the bus (which the Principal had been kind enough to lend to us for the day) we .made a quick stop at Western Union for a money exchange and proceeded to visit the bustling local markets where we purchased several locally manufactured souvenirs and gifts for our family and friends.

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Lachlan and his new handbag

We then boarded the bus to see the King’s tomb which is one of the most sacred places in Tonga. King Tupou IV, and Old Newingtonian was laid to rest on this site.

After that, seeing as it is a rugby day, the group to Tonga’s National Stadium to watch 2 open’s rugby games which everyone enjoyed. The second game included Tupou College (our brother school) which we cheered on greatly. However they were just beaten in a nail-biting ending. Regardless the game was still thrilling!

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(yes… that is Mesui Tufui, (ON’ 13) at the front of the line-out!)

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We are all safe and well and enjoying our stay in our Brother School.

By Jacob Sullivan, Henry Mellor and Angus Powell

(Editors note: photos to come….. Wifi issues!)

Tupou College Service Learning /Under 15 Rugby Tour 2013 Tour Report

Group Photo at Moulton MemorialTUPOU COLLEGE SERVICE LEARNING AND U/15 RUGBY TOUR, SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER, 2013

2013 was a great year in the 147 year old relationship between Newington and Tupou College.

Following the visit from 90 staff and students from Tupou College to help us celebrate our Sesquicentenary the annual Service Learning Tour to Tupou College was once again a great success in 2013.

We arrived at Tuamotu international airport at 2:30am and were greeted by roughly 30 of our friends from Tupou College before jumping on the college bus. Shortly afterward we were welcomed with a so-called “light tea” which consisted of two roasted pigs and two large tabled covered in traditional Tongan dishes akin to a Christmas dinner in Australia. Rev. Dr Fis’ihoi Mone welcomed us with his warm words and immediately made our touring party feel as though we belonged in Tupou College’s community. “Tea” finished at 4:30 and it was the beginning of 9 days of extraordinary hospitality by Tupou College Staff and their families and students.

We were officially welcomed on day one in the beautiful Moulton Chapel in our first Chapel Service and as part of this we were privileged to experience the amazing Tupou College Choir. This was followed by a welcoming ceremony where we were entertained with traditional Tongan dancers, Tupou College’s famous Brass Band, school war-cry’s and some very funny comedians. Blessings and speeches by Rev. Likio ‘Atiola and Rev. Aisake Haukinima once again made us feel welcome in Toloa.

Later in the week we were privileged to meet The Queen Mother, Halaevalu Mata’aho, wife of the late King Tupou IV (ONU ‘36). She has a great affection for Newington College and said that she was very happy to come and see us in Toloa.

Another highlight of the tour this year was the annual delivery of a container of resources being opened. It was sponsored by Ken Grover from Gulliver’s Sport Travel and provides our community with an opportunity to enhance Tupou College’s teaching resources.

This year with the help of the Newington Community we delivered textbooks, science equipment, classroom furniture, laptops, a data projector and other IT equipment, farming equipment, clothes, catering equipment and various rugby resources.

In terms of hands-on work our boys and staff worked in Tupou College’s new pre-school to clean it up and deliver toys and learning resources, Ms Organ conducted Science lessons with the donated microscopes, Mr Corcoran taught English and Mr Quince and Mr Gill taught Woodwork lessons. Mr Gill ran rugby clinics for coaches and players whilst Ms Organ coached Tupou College’s first soccer team.

We played two games of rugby. We won our fixture against Tupou College for the first time and the second game was a mixed game where Tupou College and Newington boys played alongside each other and everyone was a winner!

We also spent time touring Tongatapu and visited some beautiful beaches, the local market in Nuku‘alofa and went to dinner at Vakaloa Beach Resort and Little Italy. These dinners were a great chance to catch up with Moana Loseli (ONU 2011) and the families of all of the recent Tongan graduates from Newington. It was a pleasure to be in their company and reminisce about their sons great contributions to our campus.

Steve Finau (ONU ’63, Head of ONU in Tonga) also visited our touring party and spoke to the boys about the history of Tongans at Newington and of his own experiences as a student on our campus. He was also on the panel for scholarship interviews.

Sunday Chapel Service was led by Mr Corcoran, this is a great honour and his sermon was much appreciated. Rev. Dr Fis’ihoi Mone said this “closed the circle in the relationship between our two campuses”. Staff and students did bible readings, Tyrone Taukomo and Zac Newton’s were in Tongan and they delivered them perfectly! This was followed by a huge feast and some more heart-warming speeches from both colleges and much needed rest in the afternoon.

We were honoured to be hosted by the Queen Mother and the families of our current Tongan Boarders and Tongan Old boys on the second last night of the tour. The food was once again spectacular and the Brass Band entertained us afterward. We tried our best to entertain the Queen Mother with  our dancing, at least our hearts were in it even when our feet were sometimes not.

The final night was a feast followed by an evening of entertainment involving everything that Toloa’s rich culture has to offer. Traditional Tongan dance, Tupou’s spectacular war-cry’s, The Brass Band, the Sipi Tau (the Tongan Haka), Dance Competitions made for a really fun night with the whole school present. Speeches delivered by our touring party and Tupou College were both heart-warming and emotional and showed the love we have for each other’s communities.

2013 is Rev. Dr Fis’ihoi Mone and his wife Nunia’s fourth and last chance to host Newington College as he moves on as Principal. They have been an integral part of the strengthening of the ties between our campuses and have given our staff and students many opportunities for personal growth since 2010. Their love and guidance is much appreciated.

Our staff and boys all count themselves blessed to have been welcomed with open arms and hearts from our family at Tupou College. We all have many memories and lessons on how we should live for others that will serve us well in the years ahead.

Mr Cameron Quince

Tupou College Tour Co-ordinator/Head of Fletcher HouseTyrone, Nusi & Saope