Research reveals Queen Sālote’s “great sorrow” about loss of tradition in modern Tonga

    Fifty years after her death, new research by a Tongan scholar has revealed Queen Sālote’s fears for the demise of tradition in modern Tonga.

    Queen Sālote Tupou III ruled from 1918 to 1965. The anniversary of her death comes this Wednesday, December 16.

    She is widely remembered by many Tongans for her great talent in music composition, choreographer and arts.

    According to Massey University Master of Philosophy candidate Paula Onoafe Lātū, who has been researching Her Majesty’s personal documents  for his thesis, she was worried about the loss of the kingdom’s traditions.

    Latu said the beloved Queen Sālote “warned the twentieth century people of Tonga of the problem of neglecting talatukufakaholo [oral traditions] and their significance to the identity of the people as a sovereign nation.”

    According to Latu, Queen Salote wrote: “Ko e makatu’unga ‘o e Fonua pe puleʻanga kotoa pe ko e loto mo e mo’ui mo e anga ‘o e kakai.”

    In English, this means: “The foundation of every nation and government is the heart, life, and character of her people.”

    “The problem is that we are throwing away [our traditions] too quickly, but have nothing to replace it, and we become gatherers of bits here and there. We have become pickers of crumbs, a generation of kailu (those who eat what has been thrown away by others),” the Queen wrote.

    The Queen believed the loss of traditions meant the loss of identity of Tongans which was significant when identifying the fonua kakato (literally are still a complete country).

    “That is the result of half-baked education (ako tuku konga loto) and shows the weakness of the leaders in holding on to their duties without knowing what they should be, and that is why they threw it away,” she wrote.

    Queen Sālote lamented what she claimed as Tongan leaders’ disregard and carelessness in keeping and holding to the kingdom’s traditions.

    She said: “We have looked at this throwing away of tradition with great sorrow, for our traditions is a good foundation for Tonga”.

    In her dedication to the book Songs and Poems of Queen Sālote, which included English translations of her work by Melenaite Taumoefolau, editor Elizabeth Wood-Ellen described her Majesty as: “a gifted poet, musician, choreographer, intelligent and gracious, beloved of her people, promoter of peace and unity in Tonga.”

    The main points

    • Fifty years after her death, new research by a Tongan scholar has revealed Queen Salote’s fears for the demise of modern Tonga.
    • Queen Salote Tupou III ruled from 1918 to 1965. The anniversary of her death comes this Wednesday, December 16.
    • According to Massey University Massey Master of Philosophy candidate Paula Onoafe Latu, who has been researching Her Majesty’s personal documents for his thesis, she was worried about the loss of the kingdom’s traditions.
    • Latu said the beloved Queen Salote “warned the twentieth century people of Tonga of the problem of neglecting talatukufakaholo [oral traditions] and their significance to the identity of the people as a sovereign nation.”

    For more information

    Poems and Songs Fit for a Queen (Radio Australia)

    Royal Visit to Tonga 1954 – Queen Salote meets Queen Elizabeth II

    Tribute to Queen salute (NZ Film Archives)

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo lava e ta’u ‘e nimangofulu ‘ene halá (mate) ka kuo fakahā ʻe ha fakatotolo fakaako foʻou ʻa ha tokotaha ako Tonga ʻa e manavasiʻi ʻa Kuini Sālote ki ha holofa ʻa e tukufakaholó ʻi he Tonga ʻo onopōní.

      Ne hoko ʻa Kuini Sālote Tupou III ko e taki ʻo e ʻOtu Tongá mei he taʻu 1918 ki he 1965. ʻOku hoko e taʻu nimangofulu ʻene halá ʻi he ʻaho Pulelulu ko ʻeni ko hono 16 ʻo Tīsemá.

      ʻOku manatua lahi ia ʻe he tokolahi ʻi heʻene ngaahi fatu taʻanga, faiva mo e ʻātí.

      Fakatatau ki ha tokotaha Tonga ne ako ki hano Masitā he Filosofiá mei he ʻUnivēsiti ʻo Massey, Paula Onoafe Lātū ʻa ia ne fai ʻene fekumi ki hano faʻu ʻene tīsisí he ngaahi tohinoa ʻa e Taʻahiné, ne hohaʻa ʻa e kuiní ki he mole ʻa e ngaahi tala tukufakaholó.

      Ne pehē ʻe Lātū ne fakatokanga e Kuini ʻOfeiná ki he kakai Tonga ʻo e senituli 20 ʻe hoko e palopalema ʻi hono liʻekina e tukufakaholó mo ene mahuʻinga ki he ʻaitenititī ʻo e kakai ʻoku ʻi ai honau puleʻanga fakatuʻi.

      Pehē ʻe Lātū ne tohi ʻa e kuiní ʻo pehē : “Ko e makatu’unga ‘o e Fonua pe puleʻanga kotoa pe ko e loto mo e mo’ui mo e anga ‘o e kakai.”

      Ne folofola tohi foki ʻa e taʻahiné ʻo pehē ko e palopalemá ko e fuʻu vave hono fakataʻeʻaongaʻi ʻo ʻetau ngaahi tukufakaholó kae ʻikai ha meʻa ke fetongiʻakí, pea tau hoko ai ʻo toki tātānaki e hā mo e hā. Kuo tau hoko ai ko e kau tufi keikeinanga, mo ha toʻutangata kai lū.

      Naʻe tui e kuiní ko e mole ʻa e ngaahi tukufakaholó ko e mole ia ʻa e ʻaitenitī ʻo e Tongá ʻa ia ʻoku mahuʻinga fau ʻi he taimi ʻoku fiemaʻu ai ke tala hoto fonua tupuʻangá.

      Ko e ola ʻeni ʻo ha ako ʻoku taʻe lava pea ʻoku ʻasi mai ai ʻa e vaivai ʻo e kau taki ʻe nau fakahoko fatongia taʻe ʻilo ko e hā ko ā e meʻa tonu ke nau faí o nau iku liʻaki ai e tukufakaholó.

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here