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Tonga, not a ghetto

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Tonga is your heritage/ You can ot show pride if you trash it. Illustration by Shane Egan.


We all love the Tongan Rugby teams and Tongan sportsmen and sportswomen in teams all over the world or representing Tonga as individuals. Something to be extremely proud of! Now, let’s talk about pride in Tongan Heritage.

To be proud of your Tongan Heritage means you first must have respect for your Culture, your People and your Country.

Whether it was God or Maui or both who gave the Pacific Islands to the Tongans and Polynesians in general, they were presented in a pristine state. We are to be thankful and should show respect for our islands and their creation.

Tonga is your heritage. Pride in your country comes from respect of your country. You can not show pride if you trash it.

  • When I go to the beach or a walk in the bush, I find rubbish everywhere and pride and respect nowhere.
  • When I hear the countless cars and bars thumping out noise pollution with no consideration for others, especially for the elders and the very young, I hear no pride or respect.
  • When I see the “cultural” dance turned into electric disco I see no pride or respect.
  • When Heritage Sites are senselessly destroyed I see no pride or respect.

When overseas visitors to Tonga find the same experience they see no pride or respect and they ask “what are all the Tongan flags flying for”?

While we now understand the effect plastics and pollutants have on a global scale we can only start with cleaning up our own country.

At the risk of offending anyone, every individual’s actions make up a whole- so we are all responsible.

These are matters that seriously need looking at and correcting or there can be no Tongan Pride- outside of rugby and sport. Is this all there is?

Tonga is a beautiful Pacific Island- not a ghetto. Why try to turn it into one?

Shane Egan.