I am consolidating all links to the different recorded events in this post.
There will be more to come.
Future Journeys, Combined Newington and Tupou College presentation by Rev Alifeleti Atiola, and Dr David Mulford. Wednesday 22nd of June
I might add that this particular event was to start at 7pm, however in Tonga Time it started at around 8.30pm – our boys with little sleep from the night before and having endured quite a long day were very tired, yet they all tried their hardest to keep their eyes open during the presentation.
Rugby Game #1 Under 15s Friday 24 of June
I’m fairly confident that the freelance camera man has recorded the full event of both games in better quality, I am in contact with him to see if I can get a copy from him.
Rugby Game #2 Under 14s Friday 24 of June
Other Videos/Clips of some of the Tupou College Celebrations
Sunday was a shock for many of the boys, particularly the rugby boys who learned that they were unable to play their beloved ‘footy’ due to it being a day of rest.
The day began with a rather lazy start then The Newington boys and staff along with a few of the Tupou staff and a trio of pigeons enjoyed a marvellous service by Reverend Barham as the maiden service of the new sesquicentennial pulpit. The choir was also given a chance during the service to prove to themselves their competence in singing Palestrina’s “Sicut Cervus”.
Following the service we all got ready in Tongan time to go to the *insert beach name here* beach where we spent the rest of the afternoon. The beach looked out over beautiful coral shelves protected from the swell by a rock ledge, similar to the day before.
The boys and staff were all then treated to another feast (buffet) for lunch and entertainment at a restaurant on the beach before retiring back to Tupou for rest and a nice simple dinner.
Monday was an efficient start as we knew that we had a job to do. We had one day to transform the Primary school. Service boys, rugby boys and music boys all worked together to clear out all four class rooms, scrape the A4 sheets of paper that were being used as wallpaper off the wall and sand down all the wooden parts of the building to allow us to then apply fresh paint. Walls white, ceiling white, floor grey and Mr Quince’s interior designing pride and joy, a blue strip (Mr Scott’s ides of purple quickly quenched) around the edges of the ceiling, the blackboard (also with a fresh layer of paint) and the window frames (with glass panels cleaned).
While most boys laboured away inside the rooms a select few wood workers worked their way through the construction of 4 bookshelves. The boys measured twice, cut once, realised that there was an error in measurement and re-cut before finally being able to assemble the bookshelves even as the rain came down and the day light fading, finally finishing the final screw by the light of an iPhone light on a cramped balcony.
I would personally like to thank all the boys who put in a relentless effort throughout the day as it was a gruelling task and was only possible due to the numbers who put in the effort.
Following the finishing of the rooms, boys made their way to a beautiful feast laid out for us and a ceremony that featured lame jokes and a few insights from the Newington Staff and a plethora of deep and meaningful insights from the Toloa staff and special guests.
The final dinner send off featured a wide range of beautiful gifts from the Tupou staff to all the different departments and members of the Newington party. All boys were humbled to accept a specially designed sesquicentenary Tupou tie and a pennant.
The night was overwhelmingly marvellous and humbling but the top moments for me were two extraordinarily small moments, such is the way of the Tongan people.
The first moment that struck me was the humility of Melei who had been working hard all week with us, had befriended and opened up the hearts of those lucky enough to get to know him both during the week and previously during his time at Newington and had been the biggest contributor to the woodworking effort during the day. When asked to stand by Mr Quince he half raised himself from his chair and succinctly returned to his seat, barely before the applause had begun. He was unable to understand why what he had done was so great and was so humble in his reception of the recognition and this is what struck me.
The second moment was later that night, after the end of the ceremony, Rima, one of the Tupou prefects that had assisted us during the week was giving us a final speech after being given – alongside Issy who had also assisted us during the week – approximately $160 that had been collected amongst the boys in the dorm.
Rima said: “when I look at you all I don’t see someone who is rich, or is white, I just see a reflection because you are all my brothers.”
To me this struck a definite chord and I hoped that I would also be able to live my life in this fashion, focussing more on who the person is rather than what they are, seeing them as equals, regardless of status or race or religion or sexuality.
By David Charlton
After a whirlwind week of chapel services, feasts, rugby, rehearsals and concerts, today marked the first day with no formal commitments. With nothing on the agenda, Mr Quince took a moment at breakfast to reflect on our time so far in Tonga. Mr Scott began by applauding our joint performance with the Tupou boys and knows that we will never forget that moment on stage, while Mr Egerton spoke about how proud he was of the rugby boys in what was a very physical battle.
An Aussie getaway isn’t complete without a barbecue at the beach, and so after our late breakfast we headed off to the coast not too far from our dorms. The barbecues we used were fundraised by the Lindfield community and will be generously donated to Tupou College. At the beach, the boys were able to kick back and relax after a few days of hard work. We couldn’t venture too far into the water due to the coral near the shoreline, but everyone was able to dunk their feet and enjoy the Pacific. Rugby games, digging and cards were in full flight as the teachers cooked a barbecue dinner for us.
Today was important for it allowed us to stop, take a breath and reflect on our journey so far. Our way of life in Australia is different in many ways and at breakfast Mr Stanley talked about the importance of realising these differences and bringing our experiences back home to our friends and family. Things like appreciating our meal, being welcoming and sharing with others, and the power of music and sport for community.
Just after breakfast, a seventeen-year-old named Rema taught me two words: ‘Topono,’ meaning ‘be happy with what you’ve got,’ and ‘Tofu,’ meaning ‘give to those who do not have.’ It’s moments like this, learning and connecting with the Tongan people, that I will remember most and carry with me for life.
Fittingly, the phrase ‘You get what you get and you don’t get upset’ became the theme of the day. As we become more aware of the humility of the Tonga people, we are each reminded of how fortunate we are to have things we sometimes take for granted. We may have each come on this tour for different reasons, but we will all come away changed for the better by the Tongan way of life.
By Jack Ryan and James Smith
Friday marked the pinnacle of our Tongan journey. It is a day to be remembered by both New-boys and Tupou boys for years to come. Both our Rugby boys, and Choir boys had major events.
The first event was for the Rugby boys. We drove into town, past the Prince’s mansion, and met at a grand stadium, where we witnessed two rugby matches, played out by our under 14’s and 15’s.
Both teams won in a spectacular fashion: through grit, determination, and innovative ball skills. What is best is that they held up with confidence, in face of a physically intimidating opposition. The choir boys were there to support, clapping with enthusiasm, their voices silenced (as we had a demanding concert planned for later that night).
One highlight of the games was most definitely Mr. Scott’s half time show. A man so brilliant intellectually and musically, challenged himself in the realms of athletic ability. With precision, and great care, he took his first kicks of the rugby ball, and watched as it graced the air, landing a strong 4 meters away. Mr. Godfrey and Mr. Egerton cheered with love, after witnessing such a feat.
After the rest of the day had focused on eating and rehearsal, the time had come for the Great concert. Situated in the Moulton Chapel, with the presence of the King and Queen, televised all around Tonga, and with a sea of faces – both Newingtonian and Tongan- was the congregation. The night offered a range of musical numbers. Every single piece was beautiful. Executed with excitement and a uniqueness. There were Brass Bands, String Bands, Choirs, and Jazz Bands- both from Toloa and Newington.
Mr. Scott commented in his opening speech for the Newington choir, that it was extraordinary to see the great songs of Western Classical music, performed in Tongan, in the center of the Pacific, by the Tongan people.
Men like Handel could never have imagined such a thing. Just before the concert, a Toloan boy said said to me:
“We love music. It makes us different. The other schools – they are pretenders. We feel it. It is all we know.”
To this boy, music meant everything. It was a source of electric pride, of self esteem. The concert made me realize that for the Tongan people music is an act of invocation. A worship of the divine. The Tongan people sing how they live: with passion, dedication, and humility. All life for the Tongan people is an act of reverence. Another boy, this one being 15 years old, said to me: “This is our talent. Isn’t a talent the thing we are put on this earth to use?”
The wisdom in his statement can’t be learnt from books. That’s Tongan wisdom for you.
I would like to finish by recounting a conversation I shared with my new found friend Seti. Seti is a quiet Tongan boy in his final year at the college. He is defined by an immense pride of Tupou. When he speaks of the place, he forces himself upright, standing tall for a school that has given him so much. I have spent hours with him over the past few days, in passing and in rehearsals. In the minutes before the singing of the final Hallelujah chorus, Seti whispered to me, under the echoes of a speech, his eyes ponderous:
“We Toloa boys will never forget this night. Look around Jack, soon these boys will all be old. Still, they will remember.”
I understood then. This night, this week, was not about us. For the Tupou boys it was a celebration of a lifetime, the greatest honour, that they will carry around in their hearts. Here were we, Westerners, worrying about exams, looking only forward, to life outside.
Never do we stop to reflect on what has been, and on the legacy we will leave. For Seti, as for the other boys at Tupou, this is a truth they understand. Their experience might just be the greatest of their life.
That is how special Friday was.
By Jack Jacobs
Today was another huge day for the Newington boys, with many significant events scheduled. After another solid nights rest, and big breakfast provided by our great hosts, the choir boys headed over for a quick rehearsal to continue to prepare for their major concert the next day. However, our rehearsal was certainly not one governed by the rules of Tonga time as the whole group quickly assembled at the new King Tupou IV building which was to be opened by the Royal Family. The building has great significance to Newington as it includes the Newington College E-Learning centre, which was designed and set up by the Newington ICT department and funded by the College Council.
The opening of the building was a very special occasion for us to witness. The event marked the first time that the King had visited Tupou College in 20 years. With no exception, the event was fairly lengthy but it was spruced up by performances from the Tupou Choir and Brass Band. The Brass Band was exceptional as usual, making a few excited members of the audience as well as the Princess of Tonga to break into dance. Especially familiar to the musicians was the performance of “The marriage of Figaro” by Mozart, which was performed earlier in the year by our own Symphony Orchestra. The only difference was that their “orchestra” was purely devilishly virtuosic brass players. Overall, it was an amazing event which gave many of the boys and staff who helped to set up the E-Learning centre great gratitude, especially considering the fact that just 14 hours before there was not one computer in the lab and there was still scaffolding on the building.
After the King had left briefly to inspect the rainforest with his family and speedy sunnies, we moved quickly over to the feast. This was by the far the biggest, best and grandest feast we had yet experienced. Many boys were given the privilege of sitting in seats that held a high level of importance, seats that were less than twenty meters away from where the Royal family were eating. The food was of course Tongan and so were the eating habits. While we were eating a small plane flew overhead. The plane was a near 50 metres over our heads and roared past. As it passed, it dropped out a hoard of $2 notes. Both Newington and Tongan children sprinted from all directions to get the money with the lucky Newington boys who did get money graciously giving it to the Tongan people who were present. It was very exciting for everyone. Also during the feast the Newington boys got up to dance with the Australian guests attending the Tongan event. We tried to blend in with our dancing but we all stuck out like Australians at a Tongan party. The feast was a great cultural experience for the touring group and gave us yet another opportunity to meet more of the Toloan people.
As you can see from the length of this blog, today was a huge day but it didn’t end here. At night, the group along with the VIP’s were treated to a buffet dinner at the resort Vakaloa. After yet another massive feed, the entertainment for the night began. We were introduced to many traditional Tongan dances from many parts of Tonga including traditional fire and tribal war dances. Some brave boys got up on stage to dance, but the night ended with everyone getting up on stage to dance with the performance group, something which left a smile on every member of the touring parties face.
Today was an amazing day and whilst we are all exhausted we are very thankful for the opportunities presented to us by the Toloan community and the staff.
By Dale Schlaphoff and Alexander Humphreys
Blog for Wednesday the 22nd
After a much needed 7 hours of sleep, we woke up in the morning for our second day in Tonga, however I feel that this was the first time in the trip so far that we were awake enough to appreciate this. After a filling breakfast of pancakes made by our ever welcoming hosts, we were on a bus back into Nuku’alofa for our first long service, with one of the speakers being the current King of Tonga himself, Tupou VI. I must commend the boys on their resilience as many were still quite tired, and sitting through a three hour service in Tongan would test anyone’s character. The highlight of the service though was listening to the Tupou College boys perform, with some boys even humming along to Handel’s “let their celestial concerts all unite”, a piece which we have recently performed back at Newington.
Immediately following the service was the Royal luncheon, an event where it was a rule that you could not leave the table until you were absolutely stuffed. It was also an opportunity for many of the boys to demonstrate the Tongan table manners they had learned the day before, which included tearing up a roast pig with their bare hands.
Post-luncheon we jumped back on the buses and drove back to Toloa, where we got our first chance at some free time, many people opting for an afternoon of sleep and us year 12s heading off to a classroom for some study (as we promised to our parents). Our last event of the day was a practice with the Tupou college choir for our big performance on Friday, and then we had dinner and proceeded quickly to bed
Apologies for the very few posts over the past few days. We have had some issues with the Internet.
In any case I have received a link for the live stream event of the Royal Sesquicentennial Music Presentation.
Here it is
After the fantastic meal in the morning the boys attended one of their first major events in Tonga. It was to mark the beginning of the 93rd free Wesylean Church Conference which was held at Maamaloa, Nuku’alofa. In the event, the Princess of Tonga, Princess Salote Mafile’o Pilolevu Tuita together with the crown Prince, Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala attended. This made the event quite memorable. Also at the event was the President of the Free Wesylean Church, Rev Dr Ahio and the Secretary of the Free Wesylean Church, Rev Dr Havea with thousands of members of the free Wesylean Church from all over the world. The old boys of Tupou College was also summoned to honour their contribution to the school. Gifts were given from various old boys group to the Princess with words of thanks given.
The boys were then invited to a presentation in the newly renovated Chapel where Rev Alifeleti Atiola, Principal of Tupou College, and Dr David Mulford both spoke as ‘brothers’ on the vision and road map for Tupou College and Newingtons relationship with the Tupou College Community. The Newington College music band and the Tupou College music band also played multiple items.
Keep an eye out for a live stream link for the celebrations on Thursday and Friday this week.