There are 16 letters in the Tongan alphabet, 17 if you include the ' (or faka'ua): A E F H I K L M N NG O P T U V ' (faka'ua)
aas the sound
of "u" in tub
eas the sound
of "e" in bed
sound of "yie" in yield
oas the sound
of the first "o" in Zoro
uas the sound
of "oo" in wood
ng as the sound of "ng" in singer
k closer to an english "g" sound (back in the throat)
t closer to an english "d" sound (very soft t)
' ' is a global stop similar to the stop sound between "uh uh"
Some useful phrases
Mālō e lelei
How are you
Reply to 'How are you?'
What's your name?
Ko hai ho hingoa?
My name is ...
Ko hoku hingoa ko...
Do you speak English?
‘Oku ke lava ‘o lea faka-pālangi?
‘Alu a (to one person leaving)
Nofo ā (to one person staying)
Thank you (very much)
I love you
‘Oku ou ‘ofa ‘ia koe
The traditional diet of the Tongan people consisted mostly of taro, yams, bananas, coconuts and of course seafood. Oranges, limes, lemons and watermelon were introduced as westerns began to arrive in the 1900's. Tongans also began to adopt onions, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes into their cuisine and even pumpkin has become a relatively recent addition.
Some popular dishes include:
Topai: these doughballs are dropped in a kettle of boiling water to cook and are then served with syrup and coconut milk.
Lú: this is a meal prepared for special occasions. Chopped meat is prepared with coconut milk and wrapped in taro leaves which are then wrapped in banana leaves and put in an umu (a traditional underground oven) to cook. There are many varieties of Lú including Lú pulu - made with beef, Lú sipi - made with lamb, Lú moa - made with chicken and Lú ho’osi - made with horse meat.
‘Ota ‘ika: ‘Ota means raw and ‘ika means fish, and that is basically what this meal consists of - raw fish that has been marinated in citrus juice and coconut milk served with mixed vegetables. (For the fish portion, a wide array of seafood can be used such as mussels, prawns, crab, lobster, octopus or squid, sea urchin or eel).
Feke: grilled octopus or squid prepared in coconut sauce.
Kapisi pulu: corned beef and cabbage in coconut cream.
Mormonism in Tonga
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had an official presence in Tonga for well over a century. In 1891, King Siaosi (George) Tupou was visited by the first Latter-day Saint missionaries to arrive on the shores of Tonga and gave them permission to preach. Property was purchased, a mission home and school were built and a boat was secured for travel between islands. Through the years the Church in Tonga slowly began to grow.
During World War II many Mormon servicemen were stationed near Tonga and attended the local worship services. After the war the Church experienced dramatic growth as many local members were called as missionaries.
The progress of the Church on the islands has been assisted through the establishment of schools. A school in Nieafu was opened by the Church in 1907, and another, the Makeke School, was opened in 1924. A new educational complex, the Liahona High School, was established in 1952; it has become one of the largest and most successful educational institutions in Tonga.
Members of the Church in Tonga value their association with people of other faiths and desire to be contributing members of their local communities. The Church has always recognized the importance of culture to the people of the Pacific Islands.
In August 1983 the Nuku’alofa temple was dedicated, a long-awaited and joyful event for Mormons in Tonga and the surrounding islands. The remodeled temple will continue to be a spiritual focal point for members of the Church in this Pacific region.
Tonga has the largest number of Mormons per capita of any nation in the world. The Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple will serve approximately 41,000 Church members throughout Tonga and the Line Islands of the Pacific Ocean.