Seeking Reverend Doctor Shirley Waldermar Baker
After yesterdays excitement or lack of it, we set the bar very low for today. This morning we had a call from the Harbour Master, who asked us to pop in to fill in his ledger. We met Peter and saw his colleague had had a long morning. Two minutes later we were on the way to the bank.
English man in posh bank donated by the Australian Government. Tongan man. Fifty per cent of the days targets complete. Now to find Shirley.
A brand new flower outside the bank, the day is looking up in so many ways.
Along the main road, north we passed the MAFF office.
The nursery was a bit bald. Well it is winter after all.
A very busy office.
Then, dah-dah-dah, Shirley.
A very handsome memorial.
Reverend Doctor Shirley Waldemar Baker was by far the most influential European in the Ha’apai group in the late 19th and early 20th century. Reverend Baker arrived in Tonga as a Wesleyan missionary, but, ultimately became a political advisor to King Taufa’ahau Tupou I. Shirley was appointed Premier in 1880 and held this post throughout the following decade. He was the chief architect of the 1875 Tongan Constitution, the 1882 Hereditary Lands Act, and he was the principle force in establishing the Free Church of Tonga in 1885. Baker lived the latter years of his life in the village of Hihifo, South of Pangai, where he died on the 16th of April 1903. His daughters commissioned the statue above in the Pangai cemetery on the northern outskirts of town.
Alongside Shirley were several graves of German, Scottish and English settlers.
We crossed the road to look at the colourful, local graves and of course one that needed to be kept warm.
Bear loved the style of this chap surrounded by beer bottles.
Lifuka is located within the Haʻapai Group in the centre of the country, to northeast of the national capital of Nukuʻalofa. It is the administrative centre of the Haʻapai group with Pangai being the administrative capital village.
History: Lifuka is the place where Captain James Cook dubbed Tonga "The Friendly Islands". Tofua is where the mutiny on the Bounty occurred in 1789; this active volcanic island lies approximately forty nautical miles west of Lifuka. The Cpt. Bligh voyage stands as the longest successful passage ever recorded in an open boat without modern navigational aids. It was successfully recreated in 2009 by the Talisker Bounty team.
Lifuka Island was the final anchorage of the ill fated Port au Prince. In 1809 the vessel, a tall ship of French origin, was attacked by the natives off the northwest coast and almost all of the crew were slaughtered. One of the few survivors of the attack, William Mariner, was befriended by the King and spent the next four years in the Kingdom before being allowed to return to England. A chance meeting with the author John Martin upon his return resulted in a collaboration that eventually documented the experiences of Mariner in the book An account of the natives of the Tongan Islands, a now highly respected anthropological study of early civilisation in the kingdom of Tonga. The anchor of the Port au Prince was rediscovered in 2009 by a dive operator based on Lifuka. In August 2012, the wreck of the ship was discovered off the coast of Foa Island.
Demography: It has a population of 2,968 and an area of just over four square miles.
Bear with a substantial bit of driftwood and me in another ‘borrowed’ shirt – sporting me soon to be on a long journey hair cut.
Beez sitting quietly.
Tweeting took us across the road to see chaps arguing and squabbling. Oh for the big camera..........
Its nesting time for these marvelous creatures.
One of the oddest looking things, but cute.
After our rash of success it was time for a cold one at the Mariner’s café. We caught Magda in a compromising position grating a coconut. Time for a silly pose and a piece of her wonderful home-made brownie and ice cream. Our last visit here, we move on the morrow to Ha’afeva, another couple of tiny islands and finally to the capital – Nuku’alofa in the Tongatapu group. This is our ready about move for the thousand mile jump to New Zealand.
Magda asked me to follow her, camera in hand. She took me to her next door neighbours and pointed out a ‘one careful owner’. I did say it was lacking in foliage and rust “well it has a resident pig and is full of stuff.” Point taken.
100% of our small plan today came together, flushed with success - for now, time to enjoy our brownies.........
ALL IN ALL VERY FRUITFUL CONSIDERING
A GENTLE BIMBLE FOR GENTLE PEOPLE