Tevita H. Fale

I grew up in the Kingdom of Tonga in the 1950’s. I lived in my father’s village of Mu’a the ancient capital of Tonga.  The main modes of transportation at the time were by horseback, by walking, and by canoes. At the tender age of 2 I had a life altering experience.

After visiting my mother’s family on Siesia island my family returned home by canoe. It was a beautiful day the sun beaming, the ocean breeze was soft and comforting. My father was at the back of the canoe paddling, my mother holding my younger brother who was a few months old, my sister in front of her age 3, any my older brother age 4 and I at the front of the canoe.

“Manavanga” is the area where the ocean feeds into the lagoon as shown in the image above. This is an area that is known for a very strong current.

We soon came to “Manavanga” an area known for a strong current pushing into the ocean from the lagoon near my home in Mu’a. No sooner did we enter Manavanga the weather quickly turned. The winds picked up and the waves swelled. My father recognizing that his family was in real danger began to navigate us as quick as possible. However, a wave crashed on the boat and threw me into the ocean on the right hand side of the canoe.

My father, as a last ditch effort, reach into the water as the canoe passed by and managed to grab me by my foot and pulled me in. My father later told me that the weather was so bad that he could not have left the canoe to go after me as this would endanger my mother and three siblings. He said that if he did not grab me that I would have been left behind and drowned. I believe that I was saved for a reason.


Tevita H. Fale
An art piece on tapa I created to depict my experience with my family in the ocean.

The first exposure to the reason I was saved, began at the age of 5. I was always invited to the feasts and kava ceremonies with the elders of Mu’a. I was invited to serve the Kava to these elders at the kava ceremonies because I was named after my grandfather who had already passed away, as a token of respect for my grandfather. It was during these kava ceremonies that I first heard and saw the history of Tonga and Polynesia directly from Polynesians themselves. Principles such as Tonga’s two schools of education and knowledge, Kaliloa and Tano’a.

I grew up in a village surrounded by ancient history with earth pyramids, large excavations, and cultural events on a national scale. This created a thirst to understand and learn more of ancient history of Tonga and of all Polynesia. In 1975 I took this burning desire with me when I was sent to America to pursue an education. In Provo, Utah I began to read everything that I could get my hands on regarding Tongan and Polynesian history.

The more I read the more I disagreed with the current historical reports on Polynesian history especially on the history of Tonga. I realized I had found my life mission, the reason I was saved as a child, and why I was exposed to the ancient knowledge of the elders in my village in Tonga at such a young and tender age. I decided the education I would pursue was not to go to western schools, but to educate myself by searching and restoring the ancient knowledge of Tonga and Polynesia. Every winter I traveled back to Tonga in pursuit of ancient knowledge. I worked during the summers to fund my research and efforts. During one of my visits to Tonga in December of 1983, I decided to write a book on Tongan/Polynesian history. In 1985 I moved back with my family to Tonga and in 1986 I spoke personally with King Tupou IV to gain advice on how to proceed with my work. Tupou IV advised me to complete my work and that I report to him directly.

I have pursued to research and restore the ancient history of Tonga and that of all Polynesia.

Why have I been so dedicated and motivated for this work throughout my life you may ask? It may be because of the blood which flows in my veins, my ancestors beaconing and encouraging me to continue forward no matter the challenges ahead.

My father, Siaosi Blake Fale, and grandfather, Tevita Fale, (whom I am named after) are both buried in the Langi Malomaloa’a (Langi being a Earth Pyramid built by ancient Tongans). My grandmother, Malia and her father ‘Unga Papalangi (my brother’s namesake) are both buried at Fale Fakauo, the Tu’i Ha’atakalaua burial grounds are called Fale, (my first cousin is named after this Fale) with the Ha’atakalaua Fale and Mulikiha’amea (the last Tu’i Ha’atakalaua) who is my sixth great grandfather. The last Tu’i Tonga, Laufilitonga, who is my fifth great grandfather on my grandmother Malia’s mother’s side, is buried at Langi Tu’ofefafa. My great grandmother ‘Akilele, my sister’s namesake, and her children are buried at Langi Tofaua except for my grandmother Malia. Malia is buried at Fale Fakauo.  Also buried in Langi Namoala are my third (Nanasipau’u), fourth (Tu’ipulotupau’u), and fifth (Siulolovao) great grandmothers, where the recently deceased Tu’i Pelehake and his wife are buried.

This is the reason why King Tupou IV urged me in the beginning of my research to complete this work. This work was not only beneficial for my family but also for Tonga and the Polyneisan people as a whole.

Tevita Fale


Tevita H. Fale


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