I chose Tonga as a destination along my Pacific Odyssey route mainly because it was about halfway between French Polynesia and Cairns, where I had already decided it would end. Having begun the odyssey on Spanish-speaking Easter Island, and continued it in French-speaking Polynesia, I became curious about the ways in which an English-speaking Polynesian nation might be different, or similar, to these.

I didn’t know much about Tonga to begin with, only that the British Royal Family is sometimes in the news after having gone there. All I knew was that it was not exactly accessible, thus it was still very Polynesian.

It turned out that I found many similarities between Tonga and my own country. In part these are general similarities between Malays and Polynesians, but there were also ways that British influence made the two feel somewhat alike.