The Tongans are Polynesians, and inhabit a chain of more than a hundred and fifty islands lying about two hundred miles south-east and east of the Lau or Eastern Group of Fiji. Geographically, the present Kingdom of Tonga includes five subsidiary groups and some outlying islands, with a total area of two hundred and sixty-nine square miles. From Tongatapu, the largest of the southernmost group and the island from which the kingdom derives its name, the islands stretch in a north-easterly direction for a hundred and seventy-five miles. Politically, Tonga comprises three groups: Tongatabu in the south; Ha'abai in the centre; and Vavau in the north. At the period of their discovery, these groups were separate political entities; and during the early years of the nineteenth century they were not infrequently at war among themselves.
The southern islands were discovered by Tasman, in 1643; and Captain Cook visited them three times; in 1773, 1774, and 1777. The principal island, Tongatabu, is low, and irregular in shape, being much broken up by a shallow lagoon. Nukualofa, the chief town and the present capital, is situated on the north coast. The small islands of Numuka, forty-five miles north-east of Tongatabu, are low and reef fringed; but there is an anchorage which, at one time, was much used by ships bound for Sandalwood Bay, Fiji.
The central group, Ha'abai, discovered in 1781 by the Spanish navigator Maurelle, includes numerous low and small islands lying off the windward shores. Vavau itself is hilly, fertile, and covered with thick bush and palms; its southern coastline is very irregular, one deep indentation affording a land-locked harbour of rare beauty.
Low and small as most of the Tongan islands are, they are separated by wide stretches of open sea. From the deck of a canoe, nothing breaks the watery horizon until the land is near. There is, indeed, one natural lighthouse, west of the Ha'abai Islands, where the cone of the volcano Tofua rears its head above the empty seas; and during its occasional periods of activity, it was a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, serving to guide the Tongan seafarer. Sailing as they did without any of the aids to navigation devised by Western peoples, the crews must often have been at the mercy of winds and waves, and travel between the islands, in the frail canoes of the period, must have required no little skill and courage. Notwithstanding these difficulties, or perhaps because of them, the Tongans were bold and enterprising sailors, not only was communication between the island frequent, but voyages to Samoa, Futuna, Rotuma, and Fiji, were not uncommon.
The time and manner of the earliest westward movement of Polynesians from Tonga and Samoa, to Fiji and beyond, may only be surmised. Tongan tradition suggests that war-parties visited Uvea, Futuna, and Rotuma, nearly a thousand years ago; but the first voyages were probably accidental. Even when the existence of Fuji and other island groups to the west and north-west was known to the Tongans, and after the period of organized expeditions had begun, there were unwilling voyagers. Indeed, there still are. Disabled cutters are occasionally blown to Fiji from Tonga even in these days of the Diesel engine. During most of the year the prevailing winds are easterly, with occasional squalls from the west or north-west during February, March, and April. From May to November the north-east trade wind blows so regularly that, when out of sight of land, the Tongan sailors laid their course by it. Should the wind change, however, canoes might easily be driven too far west, and that usually led to disaster. Mariner tells how a canoe on which he was travelling got off the course in this way. With no land in sight, Mariner was toying with a pocket compass he carried, and noted a change in the wind; but he could not convince the Tongan crew of it. At length, by threatening to turn his musket against them, he induced them to alter the course, and they obeyed him silently, fearing the worst; but when familiar islands grew on the horizon, their resentment changed to admiration and awe.
Whether deceived by an unnoticed change in the wind, or driven west by storms, or overtaken by one of the violent hurricanes that sometimes occur during the season from November to March, many Tongan crews were unable to beat back against the steady rush of the trades, and were forced to drift where wind and waves might carry them. The position of these crews would have been hazardous in the extreme; but they had learned from such experiences that the refs and islands of Eastern Fiji were spread like a vast net to leeward. So long as the frail lashings of their canoes held, they sailed on, many of them being cast upon the islands of Lau; others were driven through the rare spaces between the reefs, and drifted on to the windward coasts of the larger popular belief that the Fijians killed and ate "people with salt water in their eyes", these castaways were well received. They settled where by chance they landed, and Tongan and Fijian descent grew up in places as far apart as Viwa in the Vasawas, Nadroga on the south-west coast of Viti Levu, and the islands of Lomaiviti and Lau. Thurston refers to the Kai Wai Tonga as a well-known example: many years before the European discovery of Fiji, these people, probably Tongans, drifted to Nairai, where they were hospitably received, being adopted into the local tribe and given wives and land; they rendered services to the chiefs in return for their lands, and they and their descendants became as much a part of the community as the natural-born Fijians.
There is evidence that Tongans visited Fiji at a very early period, and that they lived there in sufficient numbers to influence customs, crafts and language; a number of Tongan place-names - Mago, Namuka, Matuku, Kaba, Luvuka, Olorua, Late - are also the names of islands or districts in Fiji. There were also the at least two important migrations of Fijians to Tonga. The first of these probably occurred about the beginning of the thirteenth century, when a party under Tui Motuliki (Motoriki) arrived at Vavau during the time of the eleventh Tui Tonga, and was warmly welcomed, being given land and the title Tui Talau. ome of his followers were appointed matapule or head-men; others settled in the Ha'abai and Tonga groups, where many of the present inhabitants seem to have a Fijian cast of features. At a later period, probably during the sixteenth or seventeenth century, Tabu'oji, Tui Lakeba, went with a large following to Tonga, where he married the first lady of the land, who was the daughter of the thirtieth Tui Tonga. Their descendants constitute the lineage known as Fale Fisi (House of Fiji), which has six representatives among the landed chiefs of modern Tonga, and is said to be represented also in Fiji. These contacts were of a social or political character; later, however, Tongans came to Fiji principally for the exchange of property. It became known that sandalwood was to be obtained in Fiji and as the Tongans had few trees of their own, and valued the wood highly, canoes were sent to barter for cargoes of logs.
By the end of the eighteenth century the trade had become regular, and it was from the Tongans that Europeans captains first learned of the wealth of Sandalwood Bay. The Tongans also carried away Fijian articles of their own making; for the Fijians displayed greater ingenuity and a higher degree of manual skill than their neighbours in Tonga. Earthenware pots, also, were in demand; and these the Tongans could not make for themselves, even had they known the Fijian parrots, whose feathers were used by the Tongans to adorn the fine mats worn by chiefs, and also as a convenient article of trade with the Samoans. In Samoa, the scarlet feathers were worked into the mats and mantles worn by the chiefs on ceremonial occasions; and the green ones were used in the head-dresses worn by the taupo girls. So keen was the demand, indeed, that the Samoans kept Fijian parrots in captivity, plucking an annual crop of feathers from the live birds.
Notwithstanding this trade, communication between the two groups seems to have been infrequent and haphazard until the middle of the eighteenth century, by which time the attractions of Fiji, with its frequent wars, fast-sailing canoes, and superior crafts, were so well known in Tonga that a journey there came to be regarded as a necessary finish to a young chief's education. At the period of Captain Cook's visits, expeditions were becoming popular; and towards the close of the century they became almost annual events, the highest chiefs taking part in them.
As a result of their growing intercourse with Fiji, the Tongans began to appreciate the superior qualities of the Fijian double canoes over those built by themselves or the Samoans; and the principal cause of their more frequent visits during the later years of the eighteenth century was the eagerness of the Tongan chiefs to replace canoes of local build by new ones of the Fijian type. In Tonga, there was little timer of a site and quality suitable for the construction of these large vessels, and it became the practice for parties of Tongans to sail up on the wind to Lakeba, arrange with the chiefs there for logs and food in exchange for Tongan bark cloth, weapons, or services in war, and then to establish themselves on islands such as Vulaga and Kabara and build, or help to build, the canoes. At a later period, when whaling ships frequented Tongan waters, whales' teeth and iron implements were the most favoured articles of trade; the first iron implements seen at Somosomo were brought there by Tongans, the Fijians naming them after the chiefs who introduced them. The sails for the canoes were obtained from the Yasawa Islands, Macuata, or Kadavu, all of which were district noted for the quality of their sail-mats; and the trade gained for these districts a welcome share of the Tongan whales' teeth and iron tools. With the increase of Tongan influence and domination, however, the trade deteriorated into tribute paid by the Fijians to buy off marauding bands.
The building of a large canoe took from three to five years, or even longer. Altogether, the trip to Fiji, the work of building the canoe, and the return journey, commonly occupied up to seven years; and the temporary Tongan settlements became permanent as parties overlapped. In 1840, Wilkes's officers found three large Tongan canoes under construction at Vulaga, one of them 102 feet long. The work was being done by Fijian carpenters, under contract to the visiting Tongans, and was being paid for in whales' teeth, axes, and guns. Colonies of Tongan-speaking half-castes grew up in such centres as Kero, Kabara, and Koroivonu (situated on the east coast of Natewa Peninsula, with ample supplies of good timber available); and, living as they did amid canoes and canoe-builders, and being to the manner born, these people showed even greater aptitude for the work than the Fijian matai (craftsmen) who had been their teachers. The time came when the "Tonga-Fiji men" had the craft largely in their own hands.
When Tasman visited Tonga, in 1643, he saw no weapons, and concluded that the people were at peace and had been so for a long time. during a stay at Lifuka Island in May, 1777, Cook and his men were so well treated that he named the place Friendly Island, though the name was afterwards applied to the whole Group. He was deceived, however; for a few years later, mariner learned that even while the visitor were being entertained with feasting and dancing, the chiefs were planning to kill them and seize their ships. But the Tongans could not agree whether to do it by stealth, at night, or by attack, in open day; and while they were debating the point the ships sailed, and Cook left praising their hospitality. The long peace had evidently softened the Tongan men. It is unlikely that the Fijians of the period would have allowed an opportunity to plunder two ships to slip through their fingers from lack of the ability to agree about tactics.
Both Cook and Wilson saw a few Fijians at Tongatabu; and both commented upon the esteem in which they were held. It is probable that these adventurers represented the best of their people; for they were bold spirits, who had journeyed to a new land relying for safety upon their own valour and weapons. In Tonga, indeed, the Fijians were considered more accomplished than the natives, who held their opinions and warlike qualities in high respect. The Tongans believed that the Fijians fought with more ferocity than their own warriors, and they adopted the Fijian customs of dressing for war, and painting the face and body. On the other hand, they claimed that the Tongan warriors were more tenacious in seeking revenge for insult or injury.
Their own land being at peace, the young bloods of Tonga who thirsted for excitement and renown went to Fiji, where there were alarums and excursions in plenty, the restraint of their elders. The islands of Eastern Fiji were to the Tongan warriors what the fields of France were to the knights and squires of Plantaganet England. The Tongan youth had only to join a party going to Fiji for canoes, to place himself. The Tongan youth had only to join a party going to Fiji for canoes, to place himself in the way of gaining honour and fame enough to satisfy the most ambitious.
This intercourse, which did much to shape the course of events in Fiji, had important influence on Tongan affairs also. Young Tongans went home to show off new habits they had learned in Fiji customs such as the strangling of widows were introduced; cannibalism came more common; warriors who had blooded their clubs in Fiji fretted at the inglorious routine of peace. Intrigue, treachery, murder, and rebellion resulted; and in 1797, Tonga was plunged in civil war, in the course of which the people were disgraced by barbarian as vile as any known among the Fijians men. The unsettling effect upon Tongan chiefs and warriors of adventures in Fiji was the chief cause of Tonga's "Dark Age", which lasted for upwards of forty years during the early half of the nineteenth century. The chief Tu'ihalafatai is no doubt typical of many. At the time of Cook's visit in 1777, he was Tui Tonga, and entertained the visitors. In 1872, however, he resigned the position and went to Fiji, staying there for a long period and acquiring the warlike tastes and habits of the Fijians. After his return to Tonga he soon tired of peaceful inaction; and later, in 1796, he gathered to himself about two hundred and fifty young men "of unquiet disposition", prepared and provisioned three large canoes, and sailed for Lakeba. They were in Fiji for two and half years, during which time they fought, "sometimes joining one side, sometimes another, as caprice or the hopes of plunder led them". Towards the end of their stay they engaged in a war on their own account," their superior bravery rendering them very successful. At length, in May, 1799, they returned to Tonga, leaving their old canoes behind and bringing new ones built in Fiji. One canoe and its crew were lost in a heavy gale on the return voyage, but the survivors landed on Tongatabu on 28th May, 1799, and found the island in all the turmoil of civil war and invasion.
It was the old story of the downfall of a tyrant. Tuku'abo, Tu'i Kanokubolu, had angered the chiefs by his wanton cruelties, and was murdered in his bed, at Mua, by Tubouniua and his half-brother Finau II of Ha'abai. The rebels destroyed the murdered king's canoes, and fled to their own at Hahake. The loyalists rallied, but Finau defeated them in a stubborn fight that raged till nightfall. A week later the rebels were surprised and defeated, three missionaries being butchered in the fighting; and during the month of May there was a series of battles, by which the rebels were forced back on Huhago. There, faced with defeat in the very hour of triumph, finau and his warriors anxiously watched two large canoes of Fijian build sweep in to the landing place. These proved to be Tu'ihalafatai's canoes, arrived unexpectedly from Fiji. Their coming was most opportune. With such an accession of fighting men fresh from warlike exploits in Fiji, Finau returned to the attack, and on the following day, 29th May, gained a decisive victory over the loyalists. But the fight was long and stern, and having lost many of his bravest warriors, including Tu'ihalafatai, Finau returned to his own groups of Ha'abai and Vavau to find the latter island in a state of rebellion. After a fortnight of guerrilla warfare, however, he re-established his position there, and leaving his relative Tubouniua as governor, sailed for Ha'abai.
Having beaten off the invader, the people of Tangatabu were plunged into a civil war of succession. Though disrupted by factions and weakened by famine, in 1800 they contrived a successful counter-rebellion, and Finau's representatives were killed. Finau came south to Tangtabu, but finding the fortifications too strong for attack, he retired to Ha'abai, and from these harassed the Tonga people by annual raids in which food gardens were destroyed and stragglers cut off, but no fortified town was taken. Planting was neglected, since the gardens could not be defended, and the island experienced the most terrible famine every known in Tonga. Tubou Malohi, who was Tuku'aho's brother and successor, fled to Fiji, remaining there for five years, and the island was reduced to a state of anarchy.
Late in November, 1806, the British privateer Port au Prince put in to Finau's island, Lifuka, for food and water. After only three days, the ship was captured by the natives, beached, and broken up, the hull being burnt for the sake of its iron. Twenty-six of the crew were killed, but thirty-four others were allowed to live, and among these were the ship's cannon, and Finau saw that here at last was the means to reduce the strongholds on Tongatabu. When the time came for the yearly raid, his fleet of a hundred and seventy canoes carried four carronades and sixteen sailors to work them. Nukualofa, which hitherto had resisted all his attacks, was bombarded and taken; but there the matter ended, for Finau could do no more. Leaving Tubouto'a as governor of Ha'abai, to collect and forward the annual tribute, he returned to Vavau to put down a local revolt. Once having tasted power, however, Tubouto'a was not long in defying Finau; and until his death during an epidemic in 1809, Finau was occupied with local quarrels and with raids to and from Ha'abai.
Finau's chief supporter had been his brother, Finau Fiji, "one of the greatest warriors Tonga ever produced" whose name and renown had been won in Fiji, where he had lived for five years at the turn of the century. Finau Fiji secured the succession of his nephew, the late king's son, Finau III; but the young king lived only two years, and was succeeded by his brother, Finau IV, Finau Fiji being killed soon afterwards. Having gathered a powerful force of warriors, many of whom had learned their fighting in Fiji, Tubouto'a consolidated his position, retaining his independence while maintaining friendly relations with his powerful neighbour at Vavau, and led his people in ways of comparative peace until his death in 1820. He was followed by his son, Taufa'ahau, who later became George, Tubou I, first king of a united Tonga, known as well and feared as much in Fiji as in his own land. Finau IV of Vavau died in 1833, having named Taufa'ahau as his successor, and thereafter the two kingdoms were united. Tongatabu, now under Aleamotu'a, retained its independence, but was constantly disturbed by the activities of a group of rebellious chiefs.
During all this period of civil war and unrest, Fijian war-canoes were in demand, and there was much traffic between the two groups. In addition to Tongan canoe-builders, there were parties of refugees who, in order to avoid the hardships occasioned by the wars, went to Fiji and settled there. When at length the fighting dies down, warriors fretted at the unwonted inaction, and many eyes were turned towards Fiji. Intercourse became more frequent than ever, but it was still largely one-sided. The Fijians were less inclined to leave their homeland than the Tongans; indeed, they had less reason to do so, for Tonga offered little to attract them. Visitors to Tonga saw perhaps one or two Fijians; in Fiji there were numerous communities of Tongans. Wilkes reported that, in 1840, one-third of the population of Lakeba were Tongans; they had taken possession of the island, seldom worked, and lived upon the Fijians, who held them in awe. In September, 1846, Cargill saw more than three hundred of them arrive at Lakeba from the leeward part of the Group. In December of the same year Cross noted eighty others who had recently arrived from Tonga. In April 1842, upwards of a thousand of them left Lakeba for Tonga in fifteen large canoes, and some of these people had been in Fiji for two years; for food they had been entirely dependent upon the Fijians, and they purchased none of it; some was given to them, some they begged, and some they seized or stole.
By 1840, the Tongans had obtruded themselves into Fijian affairs to such an extent that they had become a menace to the high chiefs and a heavy burden upon the people. The property, especially the plantations, of their Fijian hosts was never secure against their depredations. They robbed gardens and yam-houses, lied by begging or plunder, were foremost in every petty fight; in parts of Fiji they domineered over chiefs and commoners alike. They were conceited, beautiful and arrogant, aggressive and interfering, idle and poor. Lawry, who came to Fiji from Tonga in 1847, found the Fijians less attractive in feature and less symmetrical in form than the Tongans; but he declared that the Fijians showed keener intellect, and that they were more industrious and better disciplined. The Tongans, though they demanded so much, would themselves generally refuse the slightest service unless they were paid for it; and they were rarely satisfied with the payment given to them. Local missionaries, who of all people might have been disposed to a favourable view of the Tongans, described them as 'notoriously wicked, even in Fiji", and as "in every way inferior to the Fijians in character:. They were influential, and feared and courted by the high chiefs, who put up with their filibustering swagger in order to gain their support in the family feuds and little wars that make up the Fijian history of the period. But fellows, who bred famine wherever they went. Their canoes were in demand for the transport of warriors and tribute; for, owing to the nature of the seas they habitually sailed, their sailors were better and more enterprising seamen than the Fijians, who, within their own group, were seldom out of sight of land or beyond reach of shelter. During historical times, Fijians never ventured to or from Tonga except in causes manned by Tongans.
In Tonga itself, the Fijians still retained their early reputation as warriors. Pritchard found that Tongans and Fijians always displayed more personal daring when fighting on islands other than their own. They were each of them feared and respected in the other's territories. In 1834, when Cargill was at Vavau, great excitement was caused by the appearance of a strange canoe, and it was rumoured on the beach that it was manned by Fijians; but the people were relieved to find that it was a Tongan vessel. In Fiji, however, so far from retaining their admiration for the Fijian as a fighter, the Tongans learned to out-fight him, and to use him for their own ends. Tongans became as great a scourge in these islands as the Danes were on the coasts of England.
Typical of many Tongan chiefs who frequented Fiji at this time were Lualala, and the brothers Tubou Tutai and Lajiki. Lualala was a chief of high rank and authority, who had close associations with Fiji, for he was a near relative of Tui Nayhau'a and his mother was a Fijian. He took a leading part in the fighting and persecution during the religious war on Tongatabu in 1837; and when his party was overthrown, he fled to Fiji, where his arrival was regarded as a signal for renewed persecution of the Christian party. The brothers Tubou Totai and Lajiki were princes of the blood, nephews of Finau, and a wild and adventurous pair. Tubou Totai was quite a man of the world. He had been to New South Wales, where he had been entertained and lionized by the Governor and Lady Gipps; he had picked up sufficient English to speak it freely, if quaintly; and he had a natural grace and elegance of deportment after the excitements of travel, or perhaps the brothers became involved in political intrigues, for in 1837 they fled from Tongatabu to Kakeba, pursued by a war-canoe which failed to overtake them. In Fiji, they were soon deeply involved in local affairs. With a large following of his countrymen, Jajiki went to Samosomo to offer help to rebels and their allies; and later, when Tanoa's fortunes mended, they accompanied him to Rewa and returned to Lakeba. By 1840, the brothers were known ad received at all the important centres. Their activities were varied. Cargill tells how Lajiki avenged the destruction of a Tongan canoe and its crew by raiding the village responsible and clubbing sixty of its people. Such a strong line of conduct put the Fijians in great awe of them, and when the missionary Williams and his party landed at Yaro (Vanua Balavu) in 1842, they were met by armed men, who thought they were raiding Tongans.
Tubou Totrai and Jajiki spent their time in following the native wars, visiting, feasting, and brawling. Jackson saw them at Lakeba in 1840, a few weeks later Wilkes met them at B au, where they and five hundred followers were being lavishly entertained. Wilkes used Tubou Totai as interpreter, and made him pilot of one of his ships. When, on 22nd October, 1842, King George Taula'ahau himself arrived unexpectedly at Lakeba, having been blown out of his course while on a voyage from Samoa to Ha'abai, the brothers were there to meet him. Under instructions left by King George Jajiki called a vono or council (5th December, 1842) with the object of bringing the Tongans under better control. From what is known of Lajiki's own record, it is not surprising that no improvement resulted. A year or two later, Lajiki died, but Tuboi Totai continued his endless round of visits and entertainments, accompanying Cakobau on the Natewa campaign in 1846. After Ma'alu's arrival in Fiji, in 1848, however, he suffered eclipse, and no more is heard of him.
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The advent of Ma'alu, which must rank among the important events of the century, was a direct result of the unrest that followed the birth of the modern Kingdom of Tonga. Political and religious rivalries on Tongatabu had caused renewed civil war in 1837; and finding his position weak, Aleamotu'a sent to Taufa'ahau for help in subduing his rebellious chiefs. Taula'ahau led a vigorous campaign, restored order, and promulgated a code of laws. Fighting broke out again in 1840, however, and Taufa'ahau was called in once more. Commodore Wilkes, whose ships were then in Tonga, vainly attempted to mediate; later, Captain Croker of H.M.S. Favourite lost his life in an unwise intervention, and hostilities dragged on for several years. These unsettled conditions had scarcely passed when, in 1845, Aleamotu'a died, having, like Finau before him, named the able Taufa'ahau as his successor. The three groups of Tonga were thus united.
The effects of the long period of anarchy and civil war were still evident, and the chiefs of Tongatabu did not readily submit to the new ruler. Those who had a grievance, or who favoured Taufa'ahau's rivals, left for Fiji, which became a rallying-place for disaffected chiefs, restless warriors, and adventurers, from Tonga. They were men who had tasted power and the excitement of fighting, and who might be as willing to follow an able and popular leader to "Tonga itself as to a Fijian province. During his short stay in Fiji, Taufa'ahau saw enough to convince him that the freelance warriors there were a menace to the peace of his own dominion s. They were, in fact, a potential army of invasion, lacking only opportunity and the man to lead them.
Taufa'ahau's succession to the kingship was not undisputed. The claims of his young kinsman Ma'afu'ltoga were as good as his own; and, while Ma'afu did not openly press his claims, Tongatabu was in such an unsettled state that he might easily have become the leader round whom the disaffected chiefs would rally. By sending Ma'afu to Fiji to organize and lead the Tongans there, Taufa'ahau adroitly solved two major problems at one stroke: he rid himself of his most dangerous rival by giving him authority and opportunity enough to occupy his restless ambition - but in Fiji; and, since there was none better fitted than this popular prince to control the free-lance warriors there, and to occupy their attention with fighting, he removed that menace also.
The presence of Lakeba of Tongan chiefs of high rank, supported and served by strong parties of their own people, formed an effective protection for the people of Lau against the oppression of Bau and Somosomo. In 1849, reports reached Kakeba that the Bau chief Mara, being dissatisfied with the results of his recent visits to that island, was on his way with a formidable force to attack the chief town. With six large canoes and three hundred men, Mara appeared off Lakela on 26th October, and anchored within musket-shot of the beach. He landed with a few personal attendants; but when his warriors attempted to follow, "a Tongan chief stepped forward and ordered them back to their canoes at the peril of their lives". They were kept ignominiously at bay all night by strong guards posted on the beach; and, baffled and disappointed, Mara had no choice but to submit. Two days later he left, full of rage and threats against the Lakeba people; but he was unable to gain support to for punitive measures at Bau, where, at the moment, the Tongans were in high favour.
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Faced with the problems of teaching the Fijians to read and write, and of fostering the growth of small groups of converts, the missionaries appealed to King George Taufa'ahau to send teachers to assist and multiply their efforts. The first company of teachers arrived on 26th June 1838, and proved excellent men, who made no less a contribution to the enlightenment of the Fijians than the missionaries themselves. They were followed a year later by a second company, four of whose number were placed in the newly-opened district of Rewa. In addition to their work among the Fijians, these Tongan teachers found plenty to do among their own people, and as a result of their work, not a few Tongans who, though nominally Christian, had been as undisciplined and savage as any Fijian, were reformed. Parties of them left to return to a more normal life in Tonga, but the large numbers who still remained were in the main unchanged. Some of the reformed Tongans stayed to fill appointments as teachers, though many of these lacked the qualities of King George's men; and in 1840, Thomas Williams complained that he was "pained by the idle, indolent, and unfaithful conduct of some of them, and of Tongan church members, who took "very unwarrantable liberties with the Fijians' property, and with their persons . . . stealing provisions on Saturday for use on Sunday". The conduct of some of the Tongans made Williams "ashamed before the heathen, who excel them in honesty". As far as the teachers were concerned, delinquents were exceptions; of some of them, indeed, it was claimed that no better teachers could have been found. They "sailed with their Tongan chiefs to many islands, and had influence with men in power. Not hindered by fears, as many of the Fijian converts were, their position was independent". But, owing to the attitude adopted by the Tongan chiefs in Fiji, such a situation had the weakness of being liable to deteriorate into the propagation of religion by armed force. Under the pretence of "protecting" his countrymen, Ma'afu extended his influence wherever opportunity offered. His first exploit was on Vanua Balavu. Invited to intervene in a quarrel between Lomaloma and Yaro, he supported the weaker side, whose chief had welcome a Tongan teacher. Thus strengthened, the Christians gained the advantage; but they merely exchanged one oppressor for another, for they found themselves so much under Tongan influence that instead of being aliens they became servants. Ma'afu was able to assume control over both victors and vanquished, and thereafter Lomaloma was his headquarters.
Ma'afu conquered Matuku, the southernmost of the islands in the Moala group, in 1853. By claiming that he was protecting Tongan teachers stationed there by the Wesleyan missionaries, he won the support of the chiefs of Lakeba, and Vuetasau and after a three months' siege they took it, and with it the whole island. When Lyth, the missionary of Lakeba, lelarned of the matter, he at once expelled both Ma'afa and Vuetasau from membership of the church which under the circumstances was a courageous act. But the cloak of religion was too convenient to Ma'afu for him to shed it lightly; he continued to pose as the protector of the new faith, and in due course these tactics gave him control of Moala and Totoya. In each conquered island he replaced the rightful chiefs with Tongans or Fijian underlings.
The missionaries were powerless to prevent this aggression carried out ostensibly in support of their work. They disciplined Ma'afu and others, and protested strongly; but news travelled slowly among the islands, and there Ma'afu continued his profitable tactics unhindered. In many cases the Tongan teachers became political agents for Ma'afu; and, when reproved by the missionaries for active co-operation with him and his filibusters, they protested that "however glad they might be to be excused, they could not help themselves, and had to do what their chiefs told them" which was doubtless true. When at the close of 1850, the missionaries found themselves involved in a war at Bua, they appealed to a Tongan chief then visiting Bau with three hundred followers. The Tongans took up the challenge to the faith they professed; Cakobau, "not wanting to have a war with Tongans on his hands, sent a messenger to raise the siege of Dama", and peace was restored. The Tongans gained a diplomatic victory over Cakobau, to whom they were becoming an increasing menace; and, by their appeal to force, the missionaries weakened still further their resistance to Tongan aggression done in their name. Under one pretext or another - protecting Tongan teachers, aiding rebellious chiefs, bullying Fijians into indiscretions, and levying tribute - Ma'afu and his Tongans carried war to many parts of Lau, and the coasts of Vanua Levu. They forced their victims to abandon savage practices and turn to the lotu; and they plundered, massacred, and stole wherever they went.
The traditional methods of Fijian warfare were ineffective against the Tongans, whose dash in frontal attack brought the Fijian warriors to confusion. Pritchard, who was no admirer of the Tongans, asserts that they seldom waged war without Fijian allies more numerous than their own forces; and that these people - usually collected in the last village taken - were pushed ahead as a screen. If they hesitated they found themselves between two tires. This may account for the success of comparatively small parties of Tongans, and for their immunity from heavy loss; it was not, however, due to cowardice, for the Tongans were brave fighters, and far steadier under fire than the Fijians.
The weakness of the Fijians in the face of Tongan scheming and aggression was primarily due to their inability to combine against the common enemy. Intertribal feuds, and rivalries among the chiefs, divided the Fijians. The Tongans, on the other hand, were a compact body, never more than a few hundred strong, but closely knit, and united in loyalty to their leader. Ma'afu's skull in military tactics was exceptional, and his men believed in him. Without Tongan help, the Fijians believed they would fall; with it they won. And all parties knew it. Ma'afu and his men achieved in Fiji a reputation for invincibility comparable with that of Cromwell's Ironsides in Europe.
Ma'afu himself posed as the urbane Tongan aristocrat, the friend of Cakobau, the protector of the missionaries, the patron of the traders. He left it to his lieutenants Wainiqolo and Semist Finta to terrorize the Fijians by calculated frightfulness; and wherever they went they swept the country clean of oil, pigs, yams, mats, coconuts, and all the material of trade. When Semist was at Yasawa, bullying the chiefs into conforming to the Tongan idea of religion, and into providing sail-mats for the Tongan canoes, his floggings were stopped by the courageous interference of an Englishman named Hicks. Thus baulked, Semist intimidated the Fijians by threatening to complain to Ma'afu, "who would send Wainiqolo, and he would make the land bad for them. The possibility that Wainiqolo might come was as effective as the floggings. For all his profession of high Christian principles, Ma'afu waged war with a ruthlessness that omitted nothing of the horrors of Fijian warfare except cannibalism. Enemies driven to take shelter in caves were smoked out and shot as they ran gasping for air, or suffocated like rats in a hole. The progress of Tongan war-party differed little from that of a Fijian army except in the greater efficiency shown by the Tongans.
Outstanding as Ma'afu's skill in war undoubtedly was, his real genius lay rather in statecraft, diplomacy, and administration. To the authority that is the South Seas belongs to high and pure birth he added qualities of leadership derived from youth, vigour, and keen intelligence. It is not too much to claim that he was one of the eldest chiefs the Pacific produced during the nineteenth century, and worthy to be compared with Kamehameha the Great, who, a generation before, had united Hawaii and founded its dynasty. Coming to Fiji in 1848, a young man in his twenties, he was not long in gathering into his own hands the authority belonging to the aged Taleai Tubou, the weak and indolent "tui Nayau of the period. By 1855, he had acquired sovereignty over the islands of Northern Lau, and established himself at Lomaloma. The powerful kingdoms of Cakaudrove and Bua became at first his allies, then his spheres of influence. Mcuata he conquered by club and fire. Despite successive checks administered by the British consul and the commanders of British warships, he united all Northern and Eastern Fiji in a well-governed confederacy. When he turned to deal with Cakobau, he had every prospect of being able to overthrow him, and of going on to realize his ambition of an empire reaching as far as the New Hebrides (which he had visited) in the west and Tonga and Samoa in the east; but as each opportunity for decisive action presented itself, he round his schemes frustrated by outside interference. The cession of Fiji to Great Britain in 1874 put an end to his ambitions, and left him a mere pensioner of the Colonial government - a captive lion who grew old and mangy in inactivity.
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