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The new translated book (left), the late Princess Mele Si'uilikutapu (right).

Photo/Supplied (left), Maasi R. Manu (right)


New book honours heartfelt wish of the late Princess Mele Siu'ilikutapu

The book Tonga: Fonua 'a Kainga has been translated into English from its original 2015 Tongan written version.

A new book that commemorates Tongan King Tupou the VI honours the heartfelt wish of the late royal highness Mele Siu'ilikutapu.

The book called Tonga: Fonua 'a Kainga - Land of Kinship was initially launched in the Tongan language over eight years ago.

Litia Vea Simpson from the council says Princess Siu'ilikutapu wished for the book to be English translated.

"She wanted the Tongans in the diaspora and anybody who would want to know about Tonga to access this wonderful knowledge," Simpson says.

Litia Vea Simpson of the Tongan Womens Council Inc. Photo/Supplied

The original book was launched back in 2015 by Princess Siu'ilikutapu at the Queen Sālote Hall.

Simpson says Princess Siu'ilikutapu asked the Ministry for Pacific Peoples to help translate the book. The Tongan Women Council stepped in to work on the project with support from the Ministry for Pacific People's Language Unit.

Unfortunately Princess Siu'ilikutapu would pass away in late May of this year.

"We really regret the fact that she's not here with us to see her work," Simpson says.

"I'm sure she's with us in spirit and we're very grateful to her."

The book covers Tonga values, myths and the rich history from the Tu'i Tonga Dynasty to King Tupou VI's reign.

The foreward was written by Princess Siu'ilikutapu while the following eight chapters were written by Tongan scholars.

"The first and the last chapters were written by Dr ‘Ana Maui Taufe’ulungaki and she laid out all the koloa* (values) of us as Tongans," Simpson says.

"The second chapter was written by Lupeha’amoa ‘Ilaiu and in it she laid out the cultural organisation of Tonga, commonly known as the Taumafa Kava or the royal kava ceremony," she says.

Simpson acknowledged Chapter three's author, Reverend Dr Siotame Havea who passed during the English translation project.

"He gave the sources which were based on the myths and legends of Tonga."

Simpson says her professor once wanted to know who she was and more about her, and that after reading the book Simpson she wished she gave him it.

"The book is about nofo 'a kainga. It's a divine summary of what we are made of as Tongans," Simpson says.

"Every child in the family should have [this] book because they can keep this for their family in the future."

Where can I purchase a copy?

The sale of the English version of Tonga: Fonou 'a Kainga is set to launch this year on 13 November for $150 NZD.

The book can be pre-purchased through a private message to the Tongan Women Council of Aotearoa Inc. Facebook page.

Noting that the page is a private group which would require those interested to submit a request to join the group via the "join group" button.

*According to the Tongan Dictionary by C. Maxwell Churchward, koloa means “goods, wealth, riches, possessions; what one values”

Watch the full interview below:

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