Sunday & Monday

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

Tongan Time…..

On Friday the 13th, day two in Tonga, we had another fully packed day. We attended  Tupou College’s School assembly where we were officially welcomed. We had the privilege of marching alongside our Tongan brothers from the dorms to the hall and then listening to their fantastic brass band perform. After listening to the brass band we had speeches and prayers from staff and students from the school, which was followed by the whole school signing hymns in different harmonies and then also in unison.

After breakfast we got ready to go out to the city of Nuku’alofa. Once we got to the city we went to the markets, which were full of different carvings and and other handicrafts. Once we finished in the markets we went to the t-shirt shop and then we had a delicious Tongan lunch… beef burgers. Old Boys Teu Atiola & Mai Tolu were also with our group.

We then visited Head of The ONU Tongan Branch, Steve Finau at the house that was built by his Newington Classmates. We learnt many different stories about his interesting life and about Newington men helping each other out, were given a lesson in Tongan History and Steve shared his life story – including one about his Grandfather being amngst the first intake of Tongan Boys at Newington in 1896! After this we went to the blow holes. We spent about 20 minutes at the blow holes learning the way Tongans call in the waves by whistling and watching the waves roll in.

Once we got back to Tupou College, we got ready to go to the beach. Once we got to the magnificent ‘Oholei beach we spent a couple of hours playing touch footy on the beach and going for a swim. Then once it got dark it was time for dinner at the resort on the beach which only served traditional Tongan food. They had many different types of fish, yam salad, full roasted pig and many different types of salads and potatoes. This was all accompanied by some good live music. Once everyone had finished their fantastic food we went and saw a fire show in a cave. It was incredible. The performers were putting fire on their tongues and on their feet, which was amazing to watch.

We woke up on Saturday and were lucky enough to receive a big breakfast by our Tongan aunties that wake up at 4am to prepare our lovely food for us. After our big breakfast we cleaned and then got onto our big bus and drove down town with our amazing driver Willy to watch our Tongan brothers play there rugby league games. Up first were the under 17s, these boys were strong and and made some good hits against there opponents. Our Tongan brothers played really well against the top of the table and cane out the other side with a strong and close win. Up next we’re our under 15 boys playing there league game. These boys started well with some strong carries and some good hits as well. They came through with some points not to far in. Not long after there first try came there second and quickly they were up 12-0 at half time. The boys got a bit tired in the second half and let in a try for the other team to come back at them. Luckily the hooter went and the game was over with a good win for our brothers at Tupou college as they showed determination and courage to get through and win 12-6. After these games finished we hopped back onto the bus with willy and drove back to Tupou where we relaxed for a bit and helped out with some farming and the BBQ for tonight’s big feast with all of our brothers.

– Jack Singleton & Jack Callanan

Settling in…

Malo e lelei from Tonga!

We arrived at Tonga’s International Airport at 1:20am; tired, but eager to get started on this amazing experience. Upon arriving at the airport and claiming our baggage, we were greeted by the Principal of Tupou College as well as a number of boys and staff, who presented us with floral leys. After a short bus ride to Tupou College, we settled in to our accommodation.

We awoke this morning excited for our first full day of the tour. After a delicious breakfast prepared by the Tongan women, we went back to our dormitory to get ready for the day’s activities. We started the day with a tour of the Tupou College campus and farm, which was amazing. We were lucky enough to be shown around by Mai Tolu (ON 2017) and Sione, who explained to us how the farm and school operated. We walked through the expansive farm, which is where all the food consumed by the College is grown, and then into the rainforest, where we were able to see different native plants and animals.

After lunch, we went down to the farm to weed the soil and work on the crops. This was a great experience for all of us, as we were paired with a Tupou boy who taught us how to work on the farm, as well as the opportunity to get to know the Tupou boys.

In the evening, we had another delicious meal prepared by the generous and kind Tongan community.

Our first full day in Tonga has been an amazing experience and we’re all looking forward to the experiences to come over the next week.

– Ben Wainman & Callum Stewart