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Researcher emphasizes the need to uphold Tonga’s history

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 13/12/2018

Dr Peter Suren from Australia is currently in Tonga on the release of his two new books and emphasizes the need for the youth to uphold the history and culture of the Kingdom.

Dr Peter Suren’s two new books is based on the three islands – ‘Ata, Tofua and Niuafo’ou and the other book on Tongan double canoes.

Dr Suren first visited Tonga in the 1990’s and has witnessed a lot of changes from the previous years and how it has affected youth’s interest in the history of Tonga.

“The friendliness of the Tongans is still there but not open as it was anymore in the 1990’s .. Tonga culture is disappearing drop for drop very slowly.”

However, Dr Suren suggests ways in which the youth can uphold Tonga’s rich culture and history.

“The culture of Tonga is always a point of identification: Who are we? Are we something? Is there any reason to be proud of ourselves or are we only imitators of the Western countries and we only want to be like the Palangis? We have some reasons to be proud of being Tongan. Why? Because of the history and culture and the traditions. If you cut them off, there is no identification anymore and the people in America and Australia – the Tongans there, they are left to the modern civilization and alcohol and other things. They lose their happiness. If you think, we are Tongans, we conquered the Pacific with our double canoes. We build this double canoes without iron tools only with great hatches, that’s a great achievement. But I think this is important for the young people – they must know who they are and what they are proud of their history and their culture and they should not imitate too much the Palangi’s. It is good but there are many good things in the old Tonga and that should be kept and taken seriously and be taken care of. It is always good for the young people who are interested in history to go to the villages and talk to the old people and collect everything and take down what this people say. There will be a time this records will have a certain significance. So to collect old knowledge is an important thing and still worthwhile doing.”

His two new books are up for sale at the Friendly Islands Bookshop.

Dr Peter Suren was a teacher at the Atenisi Institute for two years in the 1990’s.

© Radio and Television Tonga News