MANUSCRIPT XL: Koe taimi kovi 'i Toga - A Bad Time in Tonga: The Journal of J. Fekau 'Ofahemo'oni, 18 January to 27 March 1887

Vicki Luker, Sioana Faupula

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    The diary of Sione (John) Fekau 'Ofehemo'oni, covering the days from 18 January to 27 March 1887, gives an insight into the ordeals of a young man imprisoned, then sentenced to death, but reprieved, for the attempted assassination of the Reverend Shirley Baker, then premier to King George Tupou I. Fekau's diary thus offers a first-person account of what was, in the words of translator the late Mrs Sioana Faupula, 'a bad time in Tonga', when a Wesleyan schism resulted in deplorable violence, death, exile and controversy. The majority, that is the tau'ataina, supported the Free Church of Tonga, intended to be financially independent of the mission church and associated with Baker and Tupou I, but the minority, that is the fakaongo, supported the missionary church, of which Tupou College and its principal, the Reverend James Egan Moulton, were seen to be local advocates. This ecclesiastical division ended in 1924 under Queen Salote. Both churches formed the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga. But the memory of the earlier split remains raw. The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau (PAMBU) made Faupula's translation informally available to researchers from 2004.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)472-493
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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