Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Hitting a Six in Married Life; Remembering School Days, Courting in Tongan Islands

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Hitting a Six in Married Life; Remembering School Days, Courting in Tongan Islands

Article excerpt

NOW I'm 16 years old -- time to head to high school and discover the outside world. Time to leave the nest I was moulded and prepared in, to see if I can survive the temptations and challenges.

In the 1940s there were only five high schools in Tonga, all on Tongatapu. There were four boarding schools, one for Methodist girls, one for Methodist boys, a government school for boys only and a Seventh Day Adventist school for boys and girls. The Catholic high school was a day school strictly for Catholics.

My island is 65 miles from Nukualofa and the only way to get there was by sailing ship. There were many sailing boats but only three that could make this journey and they had to serve all of Ha'apai and Vava'u.

If the weather was good each boat could make three return trips a week, but if the sea was rough, windy or rainy, it could take up to seven days for a one-way trip.

That was one of the challenges. The waves would splash over the deck, causing us all to get soaking wet and we couldn't sleep. We'd have to stop at two or three islands on the way and eat coconuts and sea bird eggs. Sometimes we were lucky and stopped at an inhabited island where we could get solid food that we could cook and enjoy.

We had a fire on board in a 44-gallon drum and had to tie it down so it wouldn't roll into the sea when it got rough. The boat was only 7m long and three wide. In good weather the crew would trail a line and we'd enjoy a good feed of fresh fish -- red emperor, cod, trevally and sometimes shark.

My college, Tupou College (the King's title) was about five miles from Nukualofa. There were four senior and four junior dormitories with two prefects in each dorm.

My big brother was head prefect. Each house had a week on duty. They had to do the cooking, ring the bell for roll call morning and afternoon and during school hours and to share out students to each of the day duties. …

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