The Info List - Nukuʻalofa

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is the capital of Tonga. It is located on the north coast of the island of Tongatapu, in the southernmost island group of Tonga.


1 History

1.1 First western records of Nukuʻalofa 1.2 Capital of the Kingdom of Tonga
(1875 and later)

2 Government 3 Climate 4 Economy 5 Transport 6 2015 island creation 7 Twin towns/Sister cities 8 Endnotes 9 References 10 External links

History[edit] First western records of Nukuʻalofa[edit] On 10 June 1777, British captain James Cook
James Cook
wrote of his arrival at their anchorage place. His description of the place confirmed, with his map, that this was the bay of Nukuʻalofa.

At length, about two in the afternoon, we arrived at our intended station. It was a very snug place, formed by the shore of Tongataboo on the South East, and two small islands on the East and North East. Here we anchored in ten fathoms water, over a bottom of oozy sand; distant from the shore one-third of a mile [500 m]."[1]

Cook never used the name Nukualofa or any other spelling for the reports of this voyage, but he mentioned the island of Pangaimodoo (Pangaimotu) which was to the east of his anchorage position. Captain Cook also wrote that he travelled by canoes to visit Mooa (Muʻa) where Paulaho and other great men lived. The house that Paulaho provided was on the beach 500 metres (1⁄3 mi) from the ship. Reference to his map shows that he must have landed and stayed in the Siesia area, the eastern part of modern Nukuʻalofa. Cook also drafted the first map of the bay of Nuku'alofa.

The first recorded Map of Tongataboo Harbour as sketched by Captain Cook in 1777. The map clearly shows the Bay of Nuku'alofa and his anchored position near Pangaimotu. Small islands of Nuku'alofa were named with phonetic spelling, including Atata, Pangaimotu, Makaha'a, and Fetoa.

The first written record for Nuku'alofa is stated in the first dedicated book for Tonga
by George Vason which was published in 1810. George Vason was an English missionary from the London Missionary Society, who arrived in Tonga
in 1797. George Vason wrote of their arrival that:

Before we could well come to an anchor, the ship was surrounded by the natives, who flocked to us from every adjacent Island. The place, before which we anchored, was called Noogollefa: it was near an Island, named Bonghy-moddoo; on which former navigators pitched their tents, as a convenient spot, on account of its separation from the main Island, to preserve themselves from being too much incommoded by the natives.[2]

That was the first mention of Nuku'alofa, spelled as Noogoollefa. Pangaimotu was spelled as Bongy-Moddoo by George Vason since Tongan writing and alphabet would be developed in 1826-27. The second oldest book dedicated to Tonga
was by William Mariner, adopted son of Finau 'Ulukalala, which was published in 1817. Mariner described his experiences during the years he was the adopted son of 'Ulukalala (1806–1810). He described the civil war and the siege of the Fort of Nuku'alofa, which fell to 'Ulukalala and his warriors. The third attempt of Christian missionaries were recorded in April 1826, when two Tahitian London Missionaries were detained by Tupou the chief of Nuku'alofa.

In March 1826, the four men left Tahiti in the Minerva, their destination Fiji. But at Nuku’alofa, Tonga, their plans were disrupted by the high chief Tupou (Aleamotu’a). From Davies’ perspective the Tahitian were placed under detention at Tongatapu: “The chief called Tupou would not let them proceed. He had been himself a resident in Lageba and calls himself the friend of Tuineau, the chief of Lageba and as such he took possession of the present intended for the Fijian chief".[3]

The arrival of the Methodist missionaries in Nuku'alofa in 1827 reinforced the Christian faith. The persecution suffered by Christians in Hihifo and Hahake forced a lot of people to seek refuge in Nuku'alofa. Thanks to the encouragement of Tupou, the King of Nuku'alofa, this was the beginning of the expanding of Nuku'alofa to become the major center of Christianity in Tonga. The US Exploring Expedition
US Exploring Expedition
met with King Josiah (Aleamotu'a) in 1840.[4] The final phase of the arrival of Christianity in Tonga
was the arrival of Father Chevron, or Patele Sevelo, in 1842. He wrote that he arrived in Nuku'alofa in 1842 and met the Tu'i Kanokupolu Aleamotu'a who was baptised by the Wesleyan as Sosaia. In conclusion, these ladings turned Nuku'alofa from a small village and fort into the center of Tonga
during the introduction of Christianity. From the earliest records for Nuku'alofa, early writers always referred to the settlement as Noogollefa (1797), Nioocalofa (1806), Nukualofa (1826 by Methodist) and Noukou-Alofa (1842 by French Catholic priests). There was no other mention of any other name of the settlement other than the settlement or fort of Nuku'alofa. Capital of the Kingdom of Tonga
(1875 and later)[edit]

in 1887

The Declaration of the Constitution of Tonga
in 1875 formalised Nuku'alofa as the Capital of Tonga. King George Taufa'ahau Tupou I issued the Constitution of Tonga
on 4 November 1875, in Nuku'alofa. The Constitution also stated (Article 38) that the Parliament will meet in Nuku'alofa except in time of war. Since Nuku'alofa have been expanding from when it became the center of Christianity in Tonga
in the 19th century, it became essential that it was reorganised for effective administration of the capital. The reorganisation of Nuku'alofa divided up Nuku'alofa into three major district areas:

Royal Palace of Tonga

(Kolo meaning "town" or "settlement", motu'a meaning "old"), encompassing the city's original settlement at the old fort of Nukualofa, including the area of Tavatu'utolu (Longolongo), Sopu 'o Vave (now Sopu 'o Taufa'ahau), Tongata'eapa, Tufuenga, Kapeta and all the western area where it was the traditional settlement of the Tu'i Kanokupolu from Mumui the 13th Tu'i Kanokupolu to Aleamotu'a the 18th Tu'i Kanokupolu. Kolofo'ou
(fo'ou meaning "new"). This area started from the Vaha'akolo Road and all the eastern side to Ma'ufanga which include the Palace of King George Taufa'ahau Tupou I and seat of Government, as well as all the new settlement of Fasi moe Afi 'a Tungi, Malie Taha (One Mile), Ngele'ia was an old settlement during the civil wars and Taufa'ahau and his warriors destroy this settlement. Taufa'ahau settled in his kau To'a Tautahi (Sea-Warlords) in Nuku'alofa for his protection and security from enemies and named the area Kolofo'ou
(Newtown or Newsettling). This happened after the burn down and fall of Takai's fortress of Pea in the command of his son Moeakiola in 1852. About the same time Taufa'ahau moved his capital to Kolofo'ou, Nuku'alofa after he ruled and reigned from Pangai, Ha'apai since 1845. Ma'ufanga, on the eastern side of Nuku'alofa. Ma'ufanga was an old village of the Ha'a Takalaua, which is the Estate of the Chief Fakafanua. George Vason mentioned that Ma'ufanga was a refugees area during the civil war, where people could take shelter in time of hardship. Ma'ufanga is the area facing Pangaimotu, where James Cook anchored, and where Paulaho built him a house on the beach, about 500 meters from the ship.

Prime Minister's Office

Government[edit] The national government is based in Nukuʻalofa. The parliament of Tonga
meets there, and the Royal Palace is located near the city. The name is said to have originated when Moʻungatonga, the 6th Tuʻi Haʻatakalaua (King who governs the daily business of Tonga
on behalf of the Tuʻi Tonga
or Sacred King of Tonga) sent his youngest son, Ngata (later to be 1st Tuʻi Kanokupolu) as governor to Hihifo (Western side of Tongatapu). It was a difficult decision for Ngata as the Tu’i Tonga
and Tu’i Ha’atakalaua have been unable to control Hihifo. Ngata had many reasons to fear for his life as his predecessors had been killed by the chiefs and people of Hihifo. Between 12 and 13 February, 2018, the Tongan Parliament House was destroyed by Cyclone Gita, a category 4 cyclone that hit the nation.[5] Climate[edit] Nuku’alofa features a tropical rainforest climate under the Köppen climate classification. The area does experience noticeably wetter and drier periods during the year, but it does not have a true dry season month where monthly precipitation falls below 60 millimetres (2.4 in). Temperatures are slightly warmer during January and February where average temperatures hover around 25 °C (77 °F) than June and July where the average temperatures is roughly 21 °C (70 °F). Nuku’alofa sees a little more than 1,700 millimetres (67 in) of precipitation annually.


Climate chart (explanation)


    174     29 23

    210     30 24

    206     30 24

    165     29 22

    111     27 20

    95     26 20

    95     25 18

    117     25 18

    122     25 19

    128     26 20

    123     28 21

    175     29 23

Average max. and min. temperatures in °C

Precipitation totals in mm

Source: [6]

Imperial conversion


    6.9     84 73

    8.3     86 75

    8.1     86 75

    6.5     84 72

    4.4     81 68

    3.7     79 68

    3.7     77 64

    4.6     77 64

    4.8     77 66

    5     79 68

    4.8     82 70

    6.9     84 73

Average max. and min. temperatures in °F

Precipitation totals in inches

Climate data for Nukuʻalofa
(Elevation: 2m)

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Record high °C (°F) 32 (90) 32 (90) 31 (88) 30 (86) 30 (86) 28 (82) 28 (82) 28 (82) 28 (82) 29 (84) 30 (86) 31 (88) 32 (90)

Average high °C (°F) 29.4 (84.9) 29.9 (85.8) 29.6 (85.3) 28.5 (83.3) 26.8 (80.2) 25.8 (78.4) 24.9 (76.8) 24.8 (76.6) 25.3 (77.5) 26.4 (79.5) 27.6 (81.7) 28.7 (83.7) 27.3 (81.1)

Daily mean °C (°F) 26.4 (79.5) 26.8 (80.2) 26.6 (79.9) 25.3 (77.5) 23.6 (74.5) 22.7 (72.9) 21.5 (70.7) 21.5 (70.7) 22.0 (71.6) 23.1 (73.6) 24.4 (75.9) 25.6 (78.1) 24.1 (75.4)

Average low °C (°F) 23.4 (74.1) 23.7 (74.7) 23.6 (74.5) 22.1 (71.8) 20.3 (68.5) 19.5 (67.1) 18.1 (64.6) 18.2 (64.8) 18.6 (65.5) 19.7 (67.5) 21.1 (70) 22.5 (72.5) 20.9 (69.6)

Record low °C (°F) 16 (61) 17 (63) 15 (59) 15 (59) 13 (55) 11 (52) 10 (50) 11 (52) 11 (52) 12 (54) 13 (55) 16 (61) 10 (50)

Average rainfall mm (inches) 174 (6.85) 210 (8.27) 206 (8.11) 165 (6.5) 111 (4.37) 95 (3.74) 95 (3.74) 117 (4.61) 122 (4.8) 128 (5.04) 123 (4.84) 175 (6.89) 1,721 (67.76)

Average rainy days 17 19 19 17 15 14 15 13 13 11 12 15 180

Average relative humidity (%) 77 78 79 76 78 77 75 75 74 74 73 75 76

Source: Weatherbase[7]


Talamahu Market

is the economic hub of the country. Peau Vavaʻu, an airline, had its head office in the Pacific Royale Hotel in Nukuʻalofa.[8] The former Royal Tongan Airlines
Royal Tongan Airlines
had its head office in the Royco Building in Nukuʻalofa.[9][10] The city has markets and a central business district. Much of the central business district was destroyed during the 2006 Nuku‘alofa riots, but it is being rebuilt.[citation needed] The city has a number of tourist hotels, including the International Dateline Hotel, recently renovated.[11] Transport[edit]

Fua'amotu International Airport, near Nuku'alofa

The Free Church of Tonga

is the central hub for transport in Tonga. Buses arrive and depart from the central bus station along Vuna Road close to the centre of town. Bus services are privately operated, and their drivers are free to set their own schedules. Fares are fixed by the government, with reduced rates for school children. The buses are usually filled to capacity. In addition, some schools and large hotels provide their own buses. There are numerous taxis, also privately owned. Many people who own a car earn extra money by providing taxi services in their spare time. Taxi fares are also set by the government. Most families have their own car; few residents ride bicycles. There are no operational railways or trams in Tonga, although there was once a narrow-gauge railway from the lagoon to the wharf, which gave its name to Railway Road.[12] Nukuʻalofa
harbour is the only deep-water harbour of the island, which determined its selection as the site for the capital. For many years Vuna Wharf was the international harbour until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1977. A new, much larger wharf was built towards Maʻufanga, named after Queen Sālote. Between these two wharves is the wharf numbered '42', used by fishermen and inter-island ferries. It is the central hub for boats to the outer islands. There are usually two boats to ʻEua
each day and two to Haʻapai
and Vavaʻu each week. In addition to these regular services by shipping companies, private boat owners provide less regular services to smaller islands such as Nomuka and ʻEueiki. Air transport is provided by Fuaʻamotu International Airport
Fuaʻamotu International Airport
on the south side of Tongatapu, 35 kilometres from Nukuʻalofa. 2015 island creation[edit] In January 2015, a new island of about 1 km diameter was reported to be created by a volcanic eruption. The newly formed island is situated about 65 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of the capital city.[13][14] Twin towns/Sister cities[edit] Nukuʻalofa
is twinned with:

Whitby, United Kingdom Hazleton, United States


^ Cook, 1783, pg 277 ^ Vason, 1810,p 68 ^ Munro and Thornley, p. 94 ^ Stanton, William (1975). The Great United States
United States
Exploring Expedition. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 187. ISBN 0520025571.  ^ " Tonga
parliament building flattened by Cyclone Gita". BBC News. 13 February 2018.  ^ "Apia, Samoa
Travel Weather Averages (Weatherbase)". Retrieved 9 December 2016.  ^ "Nuku'alofa Climate Info". Weatherbase. Retrieved 4 November 2012.  ^ "Contact Information for Peau Vavaʻu." Peau Vavaʻu. June 12, 2007. Retrieved on January 20, 2011. "Peau Vava'u Limited Pacific Royale Hotel Taufa'ahau Road Nuku'alofa Kingdom of Tonga" ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 30 March – 5 April 2004. 61. ^ "Contact Information." ntly renovatedRoyal Tongan Airlines. 6 June 2004. Retrieved on 23 October 2009. ^ (www.bka.co.nz), Site designed and developed by bka interactive ltd, Auckland, New Zealand. "Tanoa International Dateline Hotel in Tonga". Retrieved 9 December 2016.  ^ "Transport and Industry – The Leftovers :: The Photo Galleries". Retrieved 2010-11-04.  ^ "D news". Retrieved January 21, 2015.  ^ "ABC News". Retrieved January 21, 2015. 

Transport and Industry: http://www.industrialdean.co.uk/wpacific/apacificgallery.htm


Vason G, An authentic of narrative of four years residence at one of the Friendly Islands, 1810 Martin J, An account of the natives of the Tonga
Islands, in the south pacific ocean. with an original grammar and vocabulary of their language. Compiled and arranged from the extensive communication of Mr William Mariner, several years resident in those islands, 1817 Munro and Thornley, The convant makers: Islanders missionaries in the Pacific, 1996. Findlay and Holdworth, History of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society Vol III, 1921 Monfat A, Les Tonga; ou, Archipel des Amis et le R. P. Joseph Chevron de la Société de Marie, 1893 Rowe Stringer G. A Pioneer, A Memoir of The Rev. John Thomas (1885) Farmer, Sarah Stock, Tonga
and the Friendly Islands: With A Sketch of the Mission History, 1885 Schütz, Albert J, The diaries and correspondence of David Cargill, by David Cargill, 1832–1843; 1937 Garret John, To Live Among the Stars; Origin of Christianity in Oceania, 1982 Elijah Hoole (ed.), Friendly and Feejee Islands: a missionary visit to various stations in them; by Walter Lawry, 1857 Campbell, I.C. Island Kingdom: Tonga
Ancient and Modern. Christchurch, 1992 Gifford, Edward Winslow, Tongan Places Name, 1923

External links[edit] Media related to Nuku'alofa at Wikimedia Commons

v t e

Capitals of Oceania

Dependent territories are in italics


Canberra, Australia Kingston, Norfolk Island1 Wellington, New Zealand2


Honiara, Solomon Islands Nouméa, New Caledonia3 Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea4 Port Vila, Vanuatu Suva, Fiji


Hagåtña, Guam5 Majuro, Marshall Islands11 Ngerulmud, Palau11 Palikir, Federated States of Micronesia11 Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands5 South Tarawa/Bairiki, Kiribati Yaren, Nauru
(de facto)


Adamstown, Pitcairn Islands6 Alofi, Niue8 Apia, Samoa Avarua, Cook Islands8 Fakaofo, Tokelau8 Funafuti, Tuvalu Hanga Roa, Easter Island9 Honolulu, Hawaii10 Mata-Utu, Wallis and Futuna3 Nukuʻalofa, Tonga Pago Pago, American Samoa5 Papeete, French Polynesia3

1Territory of Australia 2Often included in Polynesia 3 Overseas collectivity
Overseas collectivity
of France 4Often included in Australasia 5 Insular area
Insular area
of the United States 6Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom 7In free association with New Zealand 8 New Zealand
New Zealand
dependent territory 9 Special
territory of Chile's oceanic region 10U.S. state 11In free association with the United States

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 126723523 LCCN: n84195