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Royal Visit to Tonga: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh
     

Royal Visit to Tonga: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh

by Kenneth Bain
 
"An absorbing narrative which makes full use of a rich background of Tongan customs and traditions. Fire torches, massed dancers, nose-flutes and sucking-pig, as Tonga’s capital hums with royal visit activity and excitement." New Zealand Herald
"An eminently readable and handsome publication." S.H. Evans, Head of Information, Colonial Office, London

Overview

"An absorbing narrative which makes full use of a rich background of Tongan customs and traditions. Fire torches, massed dancers, nose-flutes and sucking-pig, as Tonga’s capital hums with royal visit activity and excitement." New Zealand Herald
"An eminently readable and handsome publication." S.H. Evans, Head of Information, Colonial Office, London
"A wholly delightful book, written with evident enthusiasm." Sunday Times, London
"Takes the reader on a voyage of enchantment to the South Seas." Sunday Sun, London
"Filled with sunshine and joy. The author gives full rein to a pleasing style, with a nice sense of humour." Auckland Star
"Kenneth Bain has managed, somehow or other, to create a kind of between-friends, all-in-the family atmosphere throughout this book. It is its most engaging quality." Judy Tudor, Pacific Islands Monthly
"Written with authority and great charm." The Book Exchange, London
"An authentic, beautifully written and illustrated story, full of colour, gaiety and warmth." South Wales Argus

ON the 3rd of February, 1953, the British Agent and Consul in Nuku‘alofa telephoned the Acting Premier of Tonga to convey a message from London that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh would visit the kingdom for three hours during the morning of Sunday the 20th December. Queen Salote Tupou was in New Zealand, and Prince Tungi, who is Premier, had been appointed Prince Regent for the period of his Mother’s absence. Queen Salote was staying at her residence in Auckland, and there she learned of the coming Royal Visit to her island kingdom as she made plans for her own journey—the most distant she had ever undertaken—to attend the Coronation of a great sister monarch. Across the Pacific waters to the villages of the scattered islands far from Tonga’s capital the news spread rapidly. Old men sat at night round the kava bowls and talked and wondered till the Polynesian sky glowed amber with the new day. In the evening a breeze arose from the ocean and whispered the tale to the rusty fringes of the palm leaves. The oldest and wisest of the chiefs were sought and consulted for their knowledge of Tongan custom; each pondered the problem of customary precedents fittingly to mark this, the most notable occasion in the history of these islands. Views were aired and their acceptability examined at length; but finally all were agreed that what lay ahead transcended even the knowledge acquired by great age, and it was decided to await Her Majesty’s decision. “The Queen will tell us what she wishes us to do; and we shall do it—ten times over.”
On the 23rd of February Queen Salote returned and then the first real preparations began. To Queen Elizabeth this message was sent: “I and all my people are delighted that Your Majesty and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh will be able to visit Tonga on your way to New Zealand. We deeply appreciate the honour you are conferring upon this Kingdom and your kindness in fitting this visit into your very full programme. Your Majesty and His Royal Highness may be assured of a very warm welcome. SALOTE TUPOU.”
On the 25th of February the Kingdom’s Privy Council appointed a Royal Visit Committee consisting of Cabinet Ministers, the British Agent and Consul, and the Secretary to the Government. The first of numerous meetings to come was held on the 3rd of March. The Queen assumed personal responsibility for the feast preparations and the traditional aspects of the decorations of welcome. Instructions were sent from the Palace in Nuku‘alofa to the far reaches of the kingdom—to the island groups of Vava‘u and Ha‘apai; to the south-easterly island of ‘Eua where now dwell the people of Niuafo‘ou, evacuated after a severe volcanic eruption in 1946; and to the distant inhabitants of Niuatoputapu, three days’ steaming in the open sea to the north and nearly half-way to Samoa. Throughout the main island of Tongatapu the still night resounded to the tap-tap-tap of the wooden mallet beating the tapa cloth (or ngatu as the Tongans call it) for the decoration of the wharf, the Church, and the seats of ceremonial welcome. For months the tapa beating continued and hurricane lamps shone in the faces of women bent over the exacting task set them by their Queen.
Kenneth Bain

Editorial Reviews

Judy Tudor
Kenneth Bain has managed, somehow or other, to create a kind of between-friends, all-in-the family atmosphere throughout this book. It is its most engaging quality.
S.H Evans
An eminently readable and handsome publication.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940012820495
Publisher:
Panorama Partners
Publication date:
07/01/1954
Series:
Tonga: A Polynesian Trilogy , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

KENNETH BAIN was born in New Zealand in 1923, and educated at Auckland Grammar School, Auckland University College and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was appointed to the Colonial Administrative Service in 1946 and assigned to Palestine as an Assistant District Commissioner in Gaza. After transfer to Fiji in 1949, he began his long association with the island peoples of the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and South Atlantic; and has travelled widely throughout all three regions.
He was Secretary to the Government of Tonga 1953-56; Commissioner, British South Pacific Office in Fiji, including responsibility for Pitcairn, 1965-70; Deputy High Commissioner for Fiji in London 1970-75; a Director at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London 1975-80; then for five years, Financial Secretary and, for a period, Deputy Governor in the British Virgin Islands. He has also been Director of Studies in Financial Management at the Royal Institute of Public Administration in London.
In close to 60 years, Kenneth Bain has written eleven well-received books. They include seven with worldwide island themes, including three on the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga and its people. There is one each on Fiji, St Helena, British Virgin Islands, and Pitcairn, together with books on schizophrenia, Doggerel Ditties in the style of Ogden Nash, Obituaries he wrote for the London newspaper The Independent, and Gaza, his Palestine mandate diary 1946-48.
He now lives on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, where he and his wife were made Honorary Belongers in 1985. His wife Margaret Anga‘aefonu is part-Tongan; their three children were born in Tonga and Fiji.
He was awarded the OBE in 1976, and appointed by King George Tupou V of Tonga to be Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Queen Salote Tupou III in 2010.

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