Day 2 2017

Hi All,

This morning our boys and staff spent time rehearsing,  preparing to paint a house for a new teacher, watching the Form 1 (Year 7) and Form 4 boys playing Rugby against (arch nemisis!) Tonga College, shopping at the local markets, visiting the blowholes and we are now about to depart for our reunion dinner at Vakaloa Resort with the families of the Tongan Bursary recipients and Tongan Newington Old Boys, including the great Steve Finau.

More to come when the boys have a little more time!

Kind regards

Cameron Quince

 

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Touchdown in Tonga!

Dear All,

Just a quick note to let you know that we have arrived safe and well at Tupou College and had a productive and enjoyable day.

We were greeted in the early hours by Principal Rev. Atiola, Deputy Principal Rev. Fonua and Rev. Paongo and numerous other staff and boys.

After a well needed sleep we awoke to a beautiful day spent unloading the container, running and participating in Music  Workshops and Rugby Training.

More to come via a post written by the boys in their own words soon….. I just thought you would like to know that we are all happy, safe and well!

kind regards

Cameron Quince

 

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Our 2017 Music Tourists are getting ready!


Ms Grubb & our 6 music tourists spent today getting ready to perform in Tonga.
IMG_2243The language of Music will be a great way for them to connect with our friends and family at Tupou College next week!

Christian and Charlie are touring to Tonga for their second time whilst Nico, Geordie, Josh, Conor and Ms Grubb will be on a much steeper learning curve.

Ms Grubb is also looking forward to calloborating with Tupou College’s Music staff again as they have been to Newington for and Sesquicentenary and on secondment in the Music Department in 2013 and 2014.

Thank you all for your efforts!

2017 Container is now full. Thank you Newington College Community!

 

2017 Container

Dear Newington Community,

Thank you boys, parents, staff and friends and our our College’s generosity for your valuable resources that will depart shortly for Tupou College, Tonga. Special mention again to Ken Grover form Gullivers Sport Travel for sponsoring the container!

Container # 10 is now full!

We have had the entire contents of a kindergarten donated, picked out furniture from a health facility, received church pews, data projectors, a piano, footy boots, university furniture, clothing, domestic appliances and much more that will be appreciated when presented by our touring party in July, 2017 whilst in Tonga.

Please hold onto any other relevant resources for now as a new container will probably not arrive until much later in the year.

Kind regards

Cameron Quince

 

Please help! Container Appeal 2017

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Dear Newington Community,

Please refer to the list below to check that we will accept your donations.

We are now collecting resources for the container that will be sent to Tupou College, Tonga.

This will be the 10th container that will be sent since 2010! A great effort by our community.

Boys can drop off donations in the designated cupboard in Fletcher House Locker Room.

For more information or to arrange drop-off of larger donations directly to the container please email Cameron Quince on cquince@newington.nsw.edu.au

Kind regards

Cameron Quince

(Head of Fletcher House/ Tupou College Tour Co-ordinator)

 

Please note:  please do not drop off large pieces of furniture without having emailed a photo to: cquince@newington.nsw.edu.au and receiving email confirmation that we will send the donation first, otherwise we may have to pay for disposal of these resources at a cost to our fundraising efforts.

WHAT ARE WE HOPING TO COLLECT?

School Furniture

This is the most needed resource! Tupou College is in desperate need of School Furniture – chairs and desks for Kindergaten to Year 12 boys. If you have a large amount of furniture please contact me directly to have it placed into the container directly.

IT Equipment.
To improve the IT facilities at Tupou College, we want to send functional:
• Laptops (battery power kicks in to save mother boards)
• Digital Cameras
• Desktop Computers (no more than 3 Years old)
• Data Projectors (with Bulbs!)
• External Hard Drives
Women’s Group Catering resources.
The Women’s Group at Tupou College caters for large functions (including for The Royal Family) & they need:
• Sewing Machines
• Serving Platters & Baking Trays
• Utensils
• Plates/Glasses (sets, not singular items please)
• Knives
• Gas BBQ’s

Pre-school Resources

Durable school furniture

Children’s books

Playground equipment

Toys

Catering Gear

ESL Resources (English as a Second Language) Books, Video’s, Audio Tapes related to learning to speak and read English (no novels please – text books only!)

Agricultural Resources  -The boys farm their own food in the Boarding House at Tupou College.
• Wheel Barrows
• Hoes, Maddocks, Shovels, Rakes etc.

Rugby Resources
• Corner Posts
• Witches Hats
• Rugby Balls
• Kicking Tees
• Clean Rugby Boots

Science Equipment
Tupou College has very limited science equipment .
They need basically everything, including:
• Microscopes & Glass Slides, Test tubes, Beakers, Bunsen Burners & Tripods & Gas rings, Scales, Thermometers etc. Clothes
• White school shirts
• Casual Clothes (babies, boys, girls, Men and Women’s)
• Rugby Gear (socks, shorts, jerseys)

Music Resources

Instruments & parts (ie. Violin strings etc.)

Sheet Music

 

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Tupou College, Toloa Sesquicentenary – Newington College ICT Infrastructure and E-Learning Center gift

Hi All,

If you would like to read my recount of my various trips to Tonga this year, including being included on the Sesquicentennial Tour, please visit the below link.

https://blogs.newington.nsw.edu.au/ict/2016/07/tupou-college-toloa-sesquicentenary-newington-college-ict-infrastructure-and-e-learning-center-gift/

Thanks

Reza Jalili

Recorded Video Links

Hi All,

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.

http://livestream.com/accounts/1347535/ATELEvsAPIFOOU/videos/127502585

Rugby Game #2 Under 14s Friday 24 of June

http://livestream.com/accounts/1347535/ATELEvsAPIFOOU/videos/127505479

Other Videos/Clips of some of the Tupou College Celebrations

https://www.youtube.com/user/helemonga006/videos

Sunday 26th + Monday 27th

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

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Saturday 25th

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

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Friday 24th

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

 

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Thursday 23rd

image image image image image image image image image image image image imageToday 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