21 September 2011

The game that roused an entire capital city

Dr. Ungatea, principal of a local high school, in her outfit
"GO IKALE TAHI!!!" we heard from every corner of the neighbourhood last night. The Rugby World Cup started on the 9th of this month, and the Tongan team, the Ikale Tahi, just made their first win of the tournament last night, playing against Japan.

Translated as the Sea Eagles, the team was officially named as such by the King, and their arrival two weeks ago in New Zealand, was heralded by two-hour delays at the airport as every Tongan in a hundred-kilometer radius arrived in red-bannered trucks to greet their team. It broke the record as the largest fan turnout during this world cup. We read each article with increasing delight, as the reports came in of a "sea of red and white," the Ikale Tahi's colours, and of cars facing the wrong way on the freeway as their owners' fervour got the best of them and they danced in front of their vehicles.

09 September 2011

Top 5 memorable things about visiting Tonga

Buying fai kakai (Tongan sweets) at the market
We have just returned from arguably one of the greatest three weeks of our last few years: hosting our first visitors to Tonga, my parents and brother. From the rainy night they arrived and we ushered them home to our little house-on-stilts to eat lu and sweet potato to the tearful farewells at midnight at the Auckland airport three weeks later, we managed to see a huge number of things in Tonga and New Zealand, and -miraculously- had a relaxing time throughout. 

Making lu at home
Upon their return to the Northwest (US) and ours to Tonga, we asked them to tell us the 5 things they will remember most clearly about Tonga- and they gave us 15. "There were so many memorable things about Tonga," they wrote "that we had a hard time keeping it to only 5, so we did 5 each!"

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