TUPOU 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 House