‘Otu Langi World Heritage Site bid to be submitted

    Tonga’s largest ancient royal tombs, the ‘Otu Langi at Lapaha, have been proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    If UNESCO agrees to list the site it will provide funds for restoration, preservation and training.

    The proposal was announced at a workshop in Lapaha on October 7.

    If the tombs secure World Heritage status, they will join the likes of the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi in Uganda and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty in South Korea as sites of outstanding value to the world.

    UNESCO placed ‘Otu Langi on a World Heritage tentative list on August 9, 2007 after Tonga provided its “authenticity of claims” with evidence about the royal tombs from the Tongan Traditions Committee.

    The evidence includes information about the writing of the Kings in the early European contact period, the continuing traditions and care of the tombs and details of who is buried.

    Knowledge about the tombs is vested in local families at Lapaha.

    According to the evidence submitted to UNESCO, the langis are platforms of earth with a stepped pyramid effect supported by stone slabs as surrounding walls.

    “It is said that the construction of these massive tombs was a way to demonstrate the spiritual and political power of the Tu’i Tonga,” the report said.

    “These tombs and the rituals that surround the burial of the descendants of the Tu’i Tongas in the same tombs are still a living part of the Tongan culture to this present day.

    “It is believed also that Tu’i Tongas constructed these tombs as a symbol of their respect for the Heavenly Fathers that became Kings of Tonga.”

    The three-day workshop was run to give stakeholders and the people of Lapaha information about how the World Heritage Site programme works and what would happen if the submission is approved.

    Benefits

    People attending the workshop were told the kingdom would benefit if UNESCO agreed to list the site.

    It would provide funds for restoration, preservation and training and promote awareness about the need to preserve the site.

    Listing the site would promote close ties with the United Nations system and the prestige and support this provided.

    It would also provide access to global project management resource and help create partnerships between government, the private sector and NGOs working to conserve the site.

    If the site is listed it will be protected under the Geneva Convention against destruction or misuse during wartime.

    Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Historic Park

    Tonga submitted the Ancient Royal Tombs of Lapaha for consideration by UNESCO under the title The Ancient Capitals of the Kingdom of Tonga.

    The submission also includes the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Historic Park.

    It claims the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui has “an astronomical or sundial function, marking the point on the horizon where the sun rises at mid-year.”

    However, UNESCO remains unconvinced. It said that while the claims were generally held to be true, the source of the story was unclear and might be an idea introduced in the early 20th century.

    Tonga signed UNESCO’s 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage on April 30, 2004.

    The main points

    • Tonga’s largest ancient royal tombs, the ‘Otu Langi at Lapaha, have been proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • If UNESCO agrees to list the site it will fund restoration, preservation and training.
    • The proposal was announced at a workshop in Nuku‘alofa today.
    • If the tombs secure World Heritage status, they will join the likes of the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi in Africa and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty in South Korea as sites of outstanding value to the world.

    For more information

    Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi

    Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo fokotuʻu atu ʻe Tonga ʻa e ʻOtu Langi ʻi Lapahá, ʻa ia ko e telioʻanga lahi mo motuʻa taha ʻeni ʻi Tongá na’a lava ke hoko ko e taha ʻo e ngaahi mātanga talā ʻa e vaʻa fakamāmani lahi ʻa e UNESCO ʻoku ʻiloa ko e World Heritage Site.

      Ka tali ʻeni ʻe he UNESCO pea te ne fakapaʻanga ʻa hono tauhi, tokangaʻi mo fakahoko e ngaahi ako ki he ʻOtu Langí.

      Naʻe talaki ʻa e fokotuʻu ko ʻení ʻi ha uekasopu ʻi Lapaha ʻi ʻOkatopa ʻaho 7.

      Ka maʻu faingamālie ʻa e ʻOtu Langí ʻi he World Heritage pea te ne kau fakataha ai mo e ʻOtu langi ʻo e Ngaahi Tuʻi ʻo Buganda ʻi Kasubi ʻi ʻIukanitā mo e ʻOtu Langi ʻo e Haʻa Tuʻi Joseon ʻi Kolea Saute, ko e ngaahi mātanga mahuʻinga ki māmani.

      Naʻe fakakau ʻe he UNSESCO ʻa e ʻOtu Langí ʻi he lisi fakataimi ʻa e World Heritage ʻi ʻAokosi ʻaho 9, 2007 hili ia hano ʻoatu ha tohi ke fakamoʻoniʻi ʻa hono tala tuku fakaholó ʻa ia ne kau ai ‘a e ngaahi fakamo’oni naʻe tauhi ʻe he Komiti Talafakafonua ʻa Tongá.

      Naʻe kau ʻi he ngaahi fakamoʻoni ko ʻení ʻa e ʻū tohi ne fai ʻe he ngaahi tuʻi ʻi he taimi ne fua hake mai ai ʻa e kau ʻIulopé pehē foki ki he hohoko hono tukufakaholo mo e ngaahi ouau ne kei tu’uholoaki mai hono fakahoko ki he ngaahi langí ni pehē ki he fakaikiiki ʻo e ngaahi tuʻi ne telio aí.

      ‘Oku kei tauhi pe ‘e he ngaahi famili ‘i Lapaha ‘a e ‘ilo mo e ngaahi ouau ki he ngaahi langí ni.

      Fakatatau ki he ngaahi fakamoʻoni ne ʻave ki he UNESCO ko e ngaahi langí ni ko e ngaahi tanunga kelekele ʻoku fakasitepu fakapilamiti ʻo holisiʻaki ʻa e ‘otu pā maka.

      Naʻe toe pehē ai ko hono langa ʻo e ngaahi telioʻanga lalahi ni ko e founga pe ia hono fakahāhā e mafi fakalaumālie mo fakapolitikale ʻo e Haʻa Tuʻi Tongá.

      Ko e ngaahi telioʻanga ko ʻení mo hono ngaahi ouau ne fai ki hono telio e hako ʻo e ngaahi Tuʻi Tongá ʻi he ʻOtu Langi talu mei muʻa ʻoku kei fakahoko pe hono konga lahi aʻu mai ki he ʻahó ni pea ko e konga ia ʻo e angafakatonua ʻa Tongá he lolotongá ni.

      ʻOku ʻi ai pe mo e tui naʻe langa ʻa e ʻOtu Langí ʻe he Tuʻi Tongá ko e fakaʻilonga ʻo e fakaʻapaʻapa ki he Tamai Hēvaní ʻi heʻene hoko ko e Tuʻi ʻo Tonga.

      Ko e uekasopu ʻaho tolu ko ʻeni naʻe fakalele ia ke akoʻi ai ʻa kinautolu ʻoku nau fekauʻaki mo e ʻOtu Langí mo akoʻi ʻa e kakaiʻ o Lapahá ki he polokalama koʻ eni ʻa e World Heritage Site pea mo e ha e meʻa ke nau teuteu ki ai ʻo ka tali ʻa e fokotuʻu atu ko ʻeni ʻoku ʻamanaki ʻave ki he UNESCO.

      Ngaahi lelei ʻe maʻú

      Naʻe fakahā ki he kakai ne nau kau atu ki he uekasopú ni ʻe faingamālie ʻa e puleʻanga fakatuʻi ʻo Tongá mei he UNESCO ʻo ka tali ke fakakau e ʻOtu Langí ko e taha ʻa hono ngaahi mātangá.

      ʻE fakapaʻanga mai ʻe he UNESCO hono tauhí, fakatolonga mo e ngaahi ako ke fai pehē ki hono tuʻuaki e mahuʻinga ke tokangaʻi ʻa e fiemaʻu ke fakatolonga e mātangá fakatuʻi ni.

      ʻE toe hoko ai e mātangá ni ke toe vāofi ange ʻa Tonga mo e Puleʻanga Fakatahataha ʻa Māmaní pehē ki he lāngilāngi mo e poupou ʻe ʻomeia ʻe he faingamālié ni ki Tongá.

      ʻE toe fakaai foki heni ʻa e faingamālie ki he ngaahi nāunau ʻo e polōseki fakakolope ko ʻeni ʻa e UNESCO pehē ki hono faʻu ha hoafengāueʻaki mo e puleʻangá, sekitoa taautahá mo ngāue mo e ngaahi sino ʻikai puleʻangá ke hokohoko atu hono tuhia e mātangá.

      Ka kau atu ʻa e mātangá ni ki he ngaahi mātanga fakamāmani lahí ʻe maluʻi ai ia ʻi he malumalu ʻo e lao Geneva Convention ʻa ia ʻoku ʻi ai ʻa e tuʻutuʻuni ai fekauʻaki mo hano maumauʻi pe ko hano paʻusiʻi lolotonga ʻo ha taimi taú.

      Kuo ʻosi hoko ʻeni ʻi muli ʻo hange ko ha maumau ne fai ʻe he Tautoitoi Talipaní ki he taha ʻo e ngaahi mātanga ne ʻosi lesisita ʻe he UNESCO ʻi he Hahake Lotolotó pea naʻe aʻu ki he 4 miliona e paʻanga ne fakamoleki ʻe he UNESCO kae lava ke toe ngaahi ʻa e mātanga ni.

      Ha’amonga ‘a Maui

      Naʻe fakahū atu ʻe Tonga e kole ke fakakau muʻa ʻa e ʻOtu Langí ki he UNESCO ʻi he kaveinga naʻe ui ko e – Ko e ngaahi kolomuʻa motuʻa ʻo e Puleʻanga fakatuʻí.

      Naʻe ʻoatu ai mo e kole ke fakakau ʻa e Paʻake Fakahisitōlia ʻo e Haʻamonga ʻa Mauí.

      Ne fakahā ki he UNESCO ʻa e ʻuhinga malohi ke tali ai ʻa e Haʻamongá ko ha mātanga fakamāmani lahi ʻo hangē ko ia ko e pehē naʻe foʻu ko ha uasilaʻā.

      Ka ne pehē ai mei he UNESCO ko e Haʻamonga ʻa Mauí ʻoku ala ko e moʻoni ʻa e lau hono tukufakaholo fakaʻasitalōnomá pe uasi laʻaá ʻo ne tala e taimi ʻoku hopo hake ai e laʻaá ʻo feʻunga tonu mo e Haʻamongá he vaeuaʻanga mālie ʻo e taʻú.

      Ka neongo ia ne pehē ʻe he UNESCO ko e makatuʻunga tefito mo e meʻa naʻe faʻu ki ai ʻa e Haʻamongá naʻe ʻikai pehē ia. ʻOku ngali ko e foʻi fakakaukau ia ko ia ʻo pehē naʻe tupu hono faʻú ko e uasi laʻaá ne toki fakahū mai pe ia ʻi he konga ki muʻa ʻo e senituli 20 hili ia ha ngaahi senituli ʻene tuʻú ʻana ia.

      Naʻe fakamoʻoni ʻa Tonga ki he konivesio ʻa e UNESCO ʻoku fakamalumalu ai ʻa e sino ʻoku ne tokangaʻi mai ʻa e tafaʻaki ko ʻeni ʻoku ʻiloa ko e ʻi he 2004.

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