Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



Committee Chair(s)

Kenneth C. Farrer


Kenneth C. Farrer


Owen J. Cook


Patrick D. Dalton


Rondo S. Harmon


Information concerning the Tongan Islands, the Friendly Islands as they are often called, is scant. As an educator teaching in Tonga, the author was very disappointed that so little information was in published form about this island kingdom. Virtually no written information was available concerning the new school assignment.

The author began a quest for information which resulted in this research. The writer held interviews with various missionaries, teachers, and church builders who had been in Tonga and at the newly designed Liahona High School. Some of their observations seemed to be in conflict. All agreed that a written history would be worthwhile and helpful not only for those who had played a part in the development of the school but also to those who were currently building its destiny and to those who would yet decide to come to Tonga.

The history of Liahona High School was written in large measure while the author was working at the school among the Polynesians who had helped to mold that history. The collection of data in a non-literate society comes frequently from informal, primary sources. At the school many of the teachers and staff were slightly aware of the historical development of the school. Occasionally, older Tongan staff members made reference to things of the past, but these were soon to be forgotten or twisted into folklore. No one seemed to recall the specific even ts. Importance of historical detail seemed to have been passed from their recollection.

Access to information that had been recorded was, therefore, limited. From Bishop's Museum in Honolulu came some scientific publications concerning findings in Tonga; the London Historical Society had published a "History of Tonga" by A. H. Wood. These publications, while interesting, were of little help. A study of publications concerning Polynesian culture in general had been made under the direction of Dr. S. George Ellsworth and proved to be a help in understanding the problems of the culture. Sir Harry Luke had written the broadest treatise of the Tongan people. The information in this chapter was primarily based on this study by Luke.1 The Pacific Island Yearbook, and the booklet Tonga, published by the Tongan Government Press, gave helpful background information concerning present-day Tonga.