New Year’s visits to church leaders and families resume in Vava’u after cyclone

The annual festivity of fe’iloakita’ufo’ou in which church members visit church leaders and families in mainland Neiafu has been resumed after it was delayed on New Year’s Day by Cyclone Ula.

Rough seas have held up crossings and some islands are recovering from damage to crops and houses.

Outer islanders travelled to Neiafu taking fish and shellfish as gifts for their church leaders who serve churches in the mainland and operated offices there.

Churches in rural areas of Neiafu presented crops, mats and pigs when they visited.

The annual visit is a mixture of cultural and formal religious activities. There is a short prayer service and fakatūʻuta (presentation of pigs, crops, Tongan handicrafts and fish) in the Tongan way. Heralds make speeches and receive and present the gifts on behalf of the church members and the church leaders.

Valamotu Fifita Tāufa from the island of Matamaka in Vavaʻu  told Kaniva News through Facebook the visits began yesterday, Monday, January 4.

“They went to meet their church leaders in Neiafu for the New Year,” Mrs Taufa said.

“It was postponed because the sea was really rough.

“Fish were absolutely fresh and beautiful,” she said, referring to the fish taken with the people to present to their church leaders.

Our correspondent in Vavaʻu said the annual visit is traditionally performed by family and relatives of those who live in the outer islands and villages in rural areas of Neiafu.

However, since everyone in various villages and islands belongs to various churches the event has become a social activity performed by churches.

After visiting their church leaders in Neiafu, people from the outer islands have the opportunity to visit their families on the main island.in Neiafu before returning to the islands.

This was an important festive activity for the people of Vavaʻu, our correspondent said.

Photos obtained by Kaniva News show people wearing Tongan formal attire of tupenu and taʻovala boarding boats to travel to Neiafu to perform the feʻiloaki.

Cyclone Ula

Tonga’s National Emergency and Management Office (NEMO) has announced that despite major destruction to fruit crops, only 10 percent of crops were affected by Cyclone Ula while she visited Vava’u.

The category three tropical cyclone caused great destruction to fruit crops, particularly in the outer island of Vava’u, and damage to a number of shelters and buildings that had not been built properly.

However, the government said root crops received only minor damage.

Cyclone Ula left Tonga on Saturday towards Fiji where it was reported to have caused no major damage in the Lau Group.

Tonga’s tropical cyclone season normally runs from November to April, but severe weather can occur at any time of the year.

The main points

  • The annual festivity of fe’iloaki ta’u fo’ou, in which church members visit church leaders and families in mainland Neiafu has been resumed after it was delayed on New Year’s Day by Cyclone Ula.
  • Rough seas held up crossings and some islands are recovering from damage to crops and houses.
  • Outer islanders travelled to Neiafu taking fish and shellfish as gifts for their church leaders who serve churches in the mainland and operated offices there.
  • The annual visit is a mixture of cultural and formal religious activities. 

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news