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Tonga

Tonga: Political System

Tonga: Political System

According to Digopaul.com, the official name of the country is:

Kingdom of Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga is officially a constitutional monarchy with a king as head of state and an elected head of government.

The king appoints the prime minister for life. This is the king's son. All other ministerial posts are also divided between sons or other persons appointed by the king who come from noble families.

The parliament consists of 30 members. 12 of these belong to the cabinet appointed by the king. Nine of the remaining 18 members are elected by the people and nine by the noble families.

In reality, the king bequeathed two thirds of the parliamentary posts to his chosen followers for life!

The official voting age is 21 and it is elected every three years. In the last election, in March 2005, an opposition politician came to parliament for the first time.

King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV died on September 10, 2006 in Auckland, New Zealand. With a weight of almost 210 kg and a height of around 1.90, he was a truly weighty ruler. He died at the age of 88. His accession to the throne took place in 1965, ruling the island nation for over 40 years. In 1985 he visited Germany for the last time, which since 1876 has had a special bond with Tonga through a friendship treaty. In 1977 the contract was renewed on both sides.

Incidentally, there is a rumor that Tupou's great-great-grandfather, Georg Tupou I, was the European sailor Hinrich Meyer, who settled there after his arrival on the islands, married a chief's daughter and in 1845 founded the family dynasty that continues to rule today.

On August 1, 2006, his successor, George Tupou V (born 1948), was crowned the new king. Around 5,000 international and national guests took part in the ceremony. The new king promised to relinquish part of his power and leave the rulership of the country to the parliament and the government in the future. He died on March 18, 2012 in a Hong Kong hospital. Tupou VI, born in 1959, was his successor on March 18, 2012.

National anthem

The national anthem of Tonga was written by Prince Uelingtoni Ngu Tupooumalohi and set to music by Karl Gustavus Schmitt. It has been played since 1874. In the original text it reads:

Original text In the English translation
'E' Otua Mafimafi,

Ko ho mau 'Eiki Koe,

Ko Koe Koe fa la la' anga,

Mo ia 'ofa ki Tonga;

'Afio hifo' emau lotu,

'Aia' oku mau fai ni,

Mo Ke tali homau loto,

'O mala'i' a Tupou.

O Almighty God over us,

You are our Lord and sure defense

In our goodness we trust You

And our Tonga you love;

Hear our prayer, although unseen

We know that You have blessed our land,

fulfill our earnest requests.

Guard and protect Tupou our king.

National flag

The national flag (country flag) of Tonga dates from November 4th, 1875. Based on flag descriptions by Countryaah.com, the red of the flag is supposed to remind of the blood of Jesus, who died for the people on the cross.

Tonga flag and coat of arms

Tonga: people I know

Visual artists, writers

Filipe Tohi (born 1959)

Filipe Tohi was born on August 23, 1959 in Nukuʻalofa, the capital of Tonga. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1978. He is a contemporary artist.

Epeli Hau'ofa (born 1939)

Epeli Hau'ofa was born in Papua New Guinea in 1939 as the son of a missionary family from Tonga. was a writer and professor of anthropology. He had studied in Tonga, Papua, Fiji, Australia and Canada.

He was archivist in the Royal Palace in Tonga, head of the sociology department and head of the School of Social and Economic Development at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, which is also operated by Tonga. In 1997 he founded the Oceania Center for Arts and Culture in Suva, of which he was temporarily director.

He died on January 11, 2009 in Suva, the capital of Fiji.

Kings

George Tupou I. (1797-1893)

Originally from 1820 onwards he was "only" the ruler of the Ha'apai archipelago consisting of 51 islands. In 1831 he became a Christian and in 1833 took over the Vava`u archipelago from his father-in-law. With the help of the missionary Shirley Baker, he introduced a series of laws based on the western model from 1839 and founded the Kingdom of Tonga in 1845, of which he became king that same year. His power ended with his death on February 18, 1893.

George Tupou II (1874-1918)

He ruled the country from 1893 until his death on April 5, 1918.

Salote Tupou III. (1900-1965)

The very popular Queen and daughter of King George Tupou II ruled the country from 1918 until her death on December 16, 1965

King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV. (1918-2006)

He ruled the country with absolute severity from until 2006. By the way, when he died he weighed over 200 kg. he died on September 10, 2006 in Auckland, New Zealand.

King George Tupou V. (1948-2012)

He is the successor of Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and was crowned king on August 1st, 2008 in the presence of over 5,000 illustrious guests from home and abroad. he promised to transfer power to parliament and government by 2010. However, the proclamation as king and successor to his deceased father took place on September 11, 2006.

King Tupo VI. (born 1959)

King Tupo VI. is the successor of Taufa'ahau Tupou V.

Tonga: animals

Mammals

On Tongatapu you can often see fruit bats, also known as flying foxes. They are 6 - 40 cm tall, crepuscular mammals with a dog-like head and large eyes. They have a short tail, which is often completely absent. The fruit bats feed mainly on fruits, although some species are nectar suckers.

The black rat and the Norway rat, which pose a threat to seabirds as they eat their eggs, were introduced. Otherwise there are no wild animals in Tonga. In the sea off Tonga live the dugongs, a type of manatee that attracts numerous visitors to the island nation every year.

There are two types of iguanas in Tonga, one of which is the herbivorous short-crested iguana. It can be found in moderately humid forest areas on the islands of Tongatapu, Eua, Ha'apai and Vava'u. There are very few and non-poisonous snakes on Tonga.

Birds

Land birds are rather rare in Tonga. They include: B. five species of Maidloris from the family of parrots.

One species is the 19 cm long and 50 g heavy blue-capped lory. You can find him on almost all islands, as he travels a lot in the air and changes islands more often. It also appears again and again on Tongatapu, although the blue-capped loris have been considered extinct there for over 100 years. It feeds mainly on the nectar and pollen of blossom-bearing trees and shrubs such as the hydrangea tree and the putat tree. Another parrot species is the 45 cm large pompadour parakeet, which is called the Red Shining Parrot in English. It is critically endangered and is bred on some of the islands.

In the dense rainforests in the crater of the island of Niaufo'ou lives the big-footed hen, which the Polynesians call Malau. This inconspicuous bird is about 30 cm long and has a simple, gray-colored plumage. He can usually only be recognized by the prints of his large feet and the melodious duet singing of the couples. The special thing about Malau is that it doesn't hatch its eggs itself, but uses various external heat sources.

He places them near hot springs or in places where the magma reaches relatively close to the surface of the earth. Its diet consists mainly of insects, but snails, seeds and fallen fruits are also on the menu. Since the Malau is not very adaptable, it is threatened by the arrival of people and the associated, rapidly changing living conditions.

The land birds also include the fruit pigeons with their brightly colored and shiny metallic plumage, as well as the shepherd's star, introduced by humans, and the marsh harrier.

Vermin and poisonous animals

There are no extraordinary vermin in Tonga. Some of the spiders can get quite large, but are not dangerous to humans. There are no poisonous snakes, scorpions or dangerous spiders in Tonga. You should only watch out for the Molokau, a large centipede. Its bite can be very painful and even lead to paralysis at times. He likes to stay in dark and damp hiding places.

Tonga: plants

General overview, trees

Most common in Tonga are the native Tamanu trees on the island of Eua, as well as the Ngatata, Tauai, and Kotone trees. Most of the natural forest is also found on the steep east coast of this island.

You can also find the hibiscus, the bougainvillea (a Brazilian climbing plant) and the frangipani, also known as plunaria or lei. This plant, which is widespread in Central America, comes in the form of large shrubs or small trees. It belongs to the dog poison family and stands out for its pink-white and intensely fragrant flowers.

Their very long (up to 30 cm), tapering and dark green leaves are also striking. In Asia, the frangipani is considered a temple or sacrificial plant and a symbol of immortality.

Casuarines and breadfruit trees are also found on Tonga. The latter are bulky and have large leaves up to half a meter long and fruit heads weighing up to 5 kg. The elongated, round breadfruit of the tree has a green, prickly skin and grows 2 m high. In Europe it is cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

Mangrove forests can be found on the islands of Nuapapu and Tongatapu. There are reed swamps on Niuafo'ou and a rainforest in the lowlands called Tafahis. On the west side of Hunga Ha'apai you will find meadows, various bushes and coconut trees.

The hydrangea and putat trees are also more common.

The hydrangea tree is a fast-growing, evergreen shrub or a small tree that can grow up to 4 m. It has dark green leaves and white to pale pink flowers.

The putat tree has an interesting history. In the past, the crushed seeds of the large square fruits were used to fish by placing the seeds in shallow water. In this way, the fish were stunned and floated to the surface, where they only had to be collected. Today this method is banned, but the tree has retained the nickname "fish poison tree". Another special feature of the tree are its flowers. They consist of a cluster of hundreds of fine, long, white-pink stamens and four rather inconspicuous white petals. However, they only open at night.

The red Heilala, a small, sweet-smelling flower, is also often represented.

Crops

Coconut, banana and pandan plantations are common in Tonga. The frangipani is also one of the useful plants, as its strongly scented flowers are used to make perfumes. Rare flower oil is also extracted from them. Pumpkins, vanilla and yams are also grown.

Medicinal plants

An oil is extracted from the nut of the tamanu tree, which helps to form new tissue and thus accelerates wound healing and the formation of new skin. Tamanu oil is also traditionally used for sciatica, psoriasis, neuralgia, rheumatism and leprosy. When the tamanu nuts are collected, the pale kernels do not yet contain any oil. Only after they have been dried in the sun for 1-2 months do the kernels turn a deep chocolate brown color and fill with the precious oil. This is dark green in color and, although thick and heavy, it is completely absorbed by the skin and leaves no residue.

Poisonous plants

All parts of the coral tree, especially the seeds, are poisonous. The poison has a similar effect to the curare arrow poison and leads to paralysis after ingestion. There are also reports that death set in after 2-3 days. However, it is also said that if the oral mucosa is not injured, there will be no effect.

Caution is also advised with the frangipani, as it contains a poisonous milky juice.

More plants

The Tauai originally comes from Asia and Australia, and the coral tree and the marshmallow bush were also introduced by humans. The coral tree originally comes from Mexico and Guatemala and belongs to the butterfly family. It grows up to 8 m tall, has light green, heart-shaped leaves and bright red flowers.

However, the coral tree is poisonous.

 

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