Ancient Practice of Tokatufa

Ancient Practice of Tokatufa

As we continue on the journey of learning of the Tu’i Tonga Settlements, I want to make an additional comment on our last article about the correct understanding of Tangaloa and Langi in Tonga.

Specifically I want to discuss further the meaning and significance of “Tokatufa”, which was the foundation in which the Langi, or Tongan Empire, was built.  As the bloodlines of Langi (Tonga) were directly infused with the different island states throughout Polynesia through this practice of Tokatufa, where women from throughout Polynesia would bare the children of Langi and then the mother and child would return to their home islands and the child would become the leader of the island. This strong blood connection was the driving force that allowed the Tongan Empire to endure for so long.

In other words, it was familial ties that held the Empire together for hundreds of years. This is a practice that is not unique to Tonga alone as Kings throughout the history of man, built alliances, and dominance through strategic marriages and maintenance of bloodlines.

Let’s take a look at a few of the well known cases of the practice of Tokatufa in Tonga by the Tangaloa and later by the Tu’i Tonga. The property in Tonga called Tokatufa which is directly tied to this ancient practice is owned by my first cousin Taani Kula, whose family have owned this property for many generations.

The Tu’i Manu’a of Samoa was from a Samoan mother and father Tangaloa from Langi (Tonga). ‘Aho’eitu’s mother was Tongan from Niuatoputapu and father Tangaloa from Langi, around 450 AD. Tu’i Tonga Puipui the 18th Tu’i Tonga named his son Kau’ulufonua I, this was during a time when the Empire consisted of 20 island states, the name Kau’ulufonua is based off the Tongan numbering system that is based off of counts of twenty. In 1250 AD Tu’i Tonga Talakaifaiki III, also known as Lomi’aetupu’a, was the Tu’i Tonga when the Samoans revolted and freed themselves from the Tu’i Tonga’s rule, his words lead to the naming of the Samoan High Chief Malietoa. Since 1250 AD the Malietoa title is commonly regarded as one of the highest ranking chiefs in Samoa to this day. The latter part of the of the 1300’s the 38th Tu’i Tonga was Takalaua, was in power in the latter half of the 1300’s. One of his wife’s name was Va’elaveamata from one of the island states of the Tongan Empire. Va’elaveamata’s son became the 39th Tu’i Tonga, Kau’ulufonua Fekai III. Kau’ulufonua Fekai III after his father’s death reformed and rebuilt the Tongan Empire, and made his younger brother Mo’ungamotu’a the first Tu’i Ha’atakalaua in honor of their father (Tu’i Tonga Takalaua) to run the daily responsibilities of the Empire. Another title for younger brothers of the Tu’i Tonga was called Sina’e, which was geared to take care of the Tu’i Tonga’s daily affairs. Kau’ulufonua Fekai III sent 3 of the Fale Fa throughout the Tongan Empire to govern and oversee the government and replaced them with three other members of Fale Fa in Tonga.

The three ancient kingly lines in Tonga with their respective parliaments/Fale Fa and the modern kingly line of the current Monarchy in Tonga.


List of islands under Kau’ulufonua:

  1. Tonga
  2. Ha’amoa (Samoa)
  3. Tefisi (Fiji)
  4.  Niue
  5. Futuna – ‘Uvea (Ellis Islands)
  6. Tokelau
  7. Lalotonga (Rarotonga)
  8. Lotuma
  9. Vanuatu
  10. Niumea
  11. Niuvalu (Tuvalu)
  12. Tahisi (Tahiti)
  13. Niutuhuapa (Rapa Nui)
  14. ‘Otuhiva (Marquesas)
  15. Tuamotu
  16. Kilipati (Kiribati)
  17. Lata / Vainikolo (Part of Solomon Islands)
  18. Palau (Carline Islands)
  19. Marshall Isands
  20. ‘Aotealoa (New Zealand)


From 1400 – 1600 the Tu’i Ha’atakalaua ran the government and building throughout Tonga, including the landfill work in Mu’a (Fonuatanu), the building of Langi’s, and prepare the annual cultural events of “Polopolo” and “Inasi”. This freed the Tu’i Tonga to travel throughout the Tongan Empire as he willed, including many excursion trips to Samoa, only being required to be in Tonga for the “Polopolo” (January/December) and “‘’Inasi” (June/July). One of Kau’ulufonua Fekai III’s daughters, Va’eto’ifangafeatu, was married to Malietoa, and had a daughter Salamasina, became the only Queen of Samoa. Salamasina marked the only time in which Samoa was unified and lived in peace, was during her rule. (This shows that Tonga and Samoa had never fully severed their ties and relationships, even after Tu’i Tonga Talakaifaiki).

The Sixth Tu’i Ha’atakalua Mo’ungatonga, married Limapo daughter of ‘Ama from Samoa, one of the High Chiefs of Samoa. They had a son called named Ngata. Ngata became the first Tu’i Kanokupolu the third line of kings to take responsibility of running the daily affairs of the Tongan Empire freeing up the Tu’i Ha’atakalua.

The Tongan Empire was spread throughout the Pacific as highlighted in the map above. other parts of Melanesia such as New Caledonia and islands near PNG were also in the Tongan Empire.


A remnant of this ancient practice is to look at the current lines of Kings in Tonga and how the familial ties they built with other island states in Polynesia. Tupou I had a Samoan wife and Tupou II had a Tahitian wife. The practice of polygamy among the Kings of Tonga ended when Christianity reached Tongan shores and was universally adopted by Tongans as a religion.

The Tongan Empire had begun to fracture at the same time Europeans were discovering the islands throughout the Pacific around the 1700’s. This fracturing continued until the Tongan Empire’s influence only remained in Tonga as we know today.

Many if not all the nobles throughout Polynesia are the from the same Tangaloa and Tu’i Tonga bloodlines. This has lead to a true fusion of bloodlines throughout Polynesia.

As for myself I am Tongan with Samoan, Fijian, and English blood that was introduced in the 1800’s.

The natural conclusion we can draw from this is that all Polynesia is a melting pot of bloodlines that are primarily linked through Tangaloa, Tu’i Tonga, Tu’i Ha’atakalua, and Tu’i Kanokupolu. Another important aspect is to see that, Tonga and Samoa were in fact, one country from the beginning and ruled the Tongan Empire as one country. The only reason they were treated as separate countries was due to the imposed separation mandated by western countries in their efforts to colonize the Pacific.





8 thoughts on “Ancient Practice of Tokatufa

  1. Tu'u Tonga

    Where did Polynesia come from and how far back can we follow their history?

    1. tualaufale

      I am finalizing the next series of articles and address the questions that you ask. Please like our facebook page to be up to date for when these articles are released! Facebook: Thank you

  2. HainiteFevaleaki

    Thank you so much for this website, for wanting to share your knowledge and findings with the world. Finally, clarity has arrived!

  3. Geoff Harman (Jeseme Amanu) nee Finau

    I have very similar understanding and outlook on Tonga’s role in the pacific and that includes the misinterpretation of where the boundaries begin and end. I too am selective about what examples and anecdotes I am prepared to share. I am dvanga in the pulotuan meaning as opposed to recent european analogies. I draw my bloodline connection and spirit from Finau i Ma’ofanga as well as many other island nations. I consider myself 7/16 Pacific People and 9/16 papalangi which is a western culture nonsense analogy to start with. But at what point does the Pacific begin and end. Feenou was the paramount chief of Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Mangaia, Fiji and all their affilliates (this is the ” Tonga” you refer to) from 1767 to 1797. This is the reason that Captain James Cook sought him out (referenced from his first contact in Tahiti) over 3 specific journeys but did not achieve till 1777. Cook and Finau spent 23 days and 23 nights in constant conversation. (who takes the time on their world excursion to do this). Pa Ulaho the tu’i tonga on hiatus at the time only warranted 5 days. Why do you think that was. I am bloody sure that Taufa’ahau has no idea’ as he was born the year Finau died and through his lifetime failed to respect all of his elders. Being selective as to who one respects to further ones own selfish and misguided beliefs and needs is not an uncommon trait in these and current times. Finau’s prophetic lament upon his death bed was that his ignorant children in all their forms would not listen to their true destiny. Taufa’ahau, his grand nephew by another great grandfather proved this to be true in usurping the many political titles he did. The new destiny being the last banana tree in the plantation.
    It is a foolish man that does not realise the fefine customary mapping of familial relations is of far more importance that the male dominated political and power based method of measuring the male lineage and patriarchal map. Especially so when the western method of male familial hierarchy is mixed in as well. Merit and knowledge were the bench marks prior to the so called 50 years of civil war. Rite of passage was not automatically given to the eldest. How time change, how customs and traditions are bent to suit. Whilst the Patriarchal lines has importance and value it is simply posturing of one cockerel in a hen house of time. The Matrilineal map and line paints a far larger picture and a broader familial and filial connection picture than the monolithic patriarchal lines can. One thing a man has never been able to do is give birth to a child, he can only puff out his chest and ruffle his feathers in pursuit of a suitable mate. Progeny is the ultimate goal over all of time, but being on an Island of limited resource makes progeny a resource in itself. Are not all land masses islands in one interconnected ocean. Papa ue nuku and Langi nui dictate this. Not much else to say.

  4. Karras Tuiletufuga Crichton

    Which Tui manu’a are you referring to because there were 40 or 50 + Tui manu’a and other people held the title Tui manu’a aswell would love to know more because I never



    1) Tui Tonga

    * Over time and space, Tongan society became more settled, shaped strictly by both internal pressure and external influences. The external influences came in the form of imperial activities beginning with the Tu’i Pulotu empire in Fiji and followed by the Tu’i Manu’a empire in Samoa. In other words, Tonga was under considerable influence from the imperialism of both Fiji and Samoa. However, Tonga was able to free herself through bitter and bloody wars from the imperial domination of the Tu’i Manu’a — which eventually led to the formation of the Tu’i Tonga empire around AD 950 in the person of ‘Aho’eitu, the first Tu’i Tonga — whose father was a deified Samoan high chief, Tangaloa ‘Eitumâtupu’a, and mother a Tongan woman, Va’epopua, of great noble birth. This double origin, entitled the Tu’i Tonga to hold both divine and secular offices. In principle, the close cultural and historical interlinkages between Fiji, Samoa and Tonga were essentially elitist, involving the intermarriage between regional aristocratic families.

    Na’e hoko e ngaahi liliu lahi ‘i Tonga ni tupu mei he’ene fetu’utaki mo muli, ‘o kau e kakai mulimo ‘enau sivilaise ki hono fakalele ‘a e fonua. Na’e fuofua nofo’i ‘a Tonga ni ‘e he kau Pulotu, ‘aia koha kau muli ‘oku ui ‘e he ‘akiolosia ko e kau Lapita. Na’e pule’i fefeka ‘a Tonga ‘e he Tu’i Manu’a, ‘o hu mei Ha’amoa mo Polinisia hahake ha ngaahi fetu’utaki ne ‘asi ‘i Tonga ko e ngaahi ‘Otua mo tangata, taula’eiki mo e Tu’i, ‘Eiki mo e Hau. Na’e tu’uloa ‘a e tufunga fonua ‘a e muli ko Lo’au mo e Tu’i Tonga, ‘a ia na’e fokotu’utu’u fo’ou ma’u pe mafai ke hoa mo e liliu he fonua, ‘o hange ko ‘ene ‘asi he ngaue tu’uloa mo tolonga ‘a Tu’itatui mo Kau’ulufonua I. Na’e tatau ‘eni mo hono fa’u e sino fakapolitikale muli ko e Konisitutone ‘e Taufa’ahau mo Misa Peika, ko ha Papalangi, ‘o ‘ikai kehe ia mei he hake mai ‘a e ngaahi tui muli ko e lotu faka-Kalisitiane, ako mo e temokalati.

    * Hundreds of years later after the establishment of Ahoeitu in Tonga, the 15th Tui Tonga Talakaifaiki became a paramount Chief in Savaii. His Chiefdom in Savaii was short lived for he was defeated and expelled from Samoa by Tuna & Fata which lead to the creation of a new title & dynasty known as MALIETOA.

    * In the late 1400’s early 1500’s a new Royal line was finally created in Tonga, known as the Tui Ha’atakalaua Line. Then in the 1600’s the Tui Kanokupolu (Flesh/Heart Of Upolu) royal line was established. The Tui Kanokupolu royal line has similar origins to that of the Tui Tonga Line. Both the Tui Tonga Line and Tui Kanokupolu Line have Samoan Origins as stated by the King of Tonga, George Taufa’ahau Tupou 1. (See Below)

    Tupou 1Tupou 2

    * The Tui Kanokupolu (Flesh/Heart Of Upolu) Line are the current rulers of Tonga.

  5. Samoana

    Your info is way off! Ahoeitu’s Father was Samoan and his mother Tongan. His brothers were all Samoan! Tagaloa was from Manu’a!

    1. Samoana

      Manu’a was the LAGI of Tagaloa and the Tagaloa Clan! If you look at the creation story of Tonga, it addresses Maui going to Manu’a and visiting a great CHIEF known as Tui Manu’a! This Tui Manu’a was said to have been the creator of islands and is actually known as Tui Manu’a Tagaloa Faatutupunu’u (Creator Of Lands). Ahoeitu’s father was from Manu’a! His brothers were Samoans from Upolu/Savaii realm. It is stated all of his undertakers were also Samoan which verifies why the Tui Tonga dynasty tombs were called Lagi! In Samoa when a great chief passes away the Samoan funeral ritual known as Lagi takes place! This ritual deals with chanting of all the Lagi’s and opening up the Lagi for the body to return to it! With all of his undertakers being Samoan and his father being from Samoa it all makes sense!

      The Tui Manu’a Dynasty is the only dynasty to have carried the name Tagaloa along with the title Tui Manu’a. For example:

      1) Tui Manu’a Tae O Tagaloa (Issue of Tagaloa)
      2) Tui Manu’a Tagaloa Faatutupunu’a (creator of lands)

      Etc etc…….

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