Fakaongo and tau'ataina : the influences of the Tongan traditional religion, the European civilization and Wesleyan teachings on the formation of Tongan religious identities : a thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Philosophy at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand

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Previous scholars addressed the problem of acculturation in the development of the Tongan Wesleyan Church in Tonga from their own perspective, (conflict, missiological, and power politics approaches) using their own lens to study the problem. This work attempts, from a cultural logic view point to offer an in depth study of the influence of the two concepts of Fakaongo and Tau’ataina, the tenets of traditional Tongan religion in the narrow context of the development of European civilization and religion, which led to the establishment of the Tongan religious identities known (in this work) as Kau Fakaongo and Kau Tau’ataina and, which in the wider context reflective of the Ha’a Tu’i Kanokupolu regime and Kainga confederations. A functional approach1 is used to substantiate the functions played by Fakaongo and Tau’ataina in pre-contact history and the missionary period up to the year 1890, when they became institutionalized as respective identities of Kau Fakaongo and Kau Tau’ataina. It particularly depicts how the tenets of Fakaongo and Tau’ataina navigated all spheres; Tu’i, hou’eiki, and kakai, the church leaders, missionaries, resulting in their manifestations as Tongan Wesleyan religious identities. Evidence is drawn from Talatukufakaholo Tongan orality, as literature and history source documented by Europeans. Tales in qualitative oral narratives, primary materials and documented oral sources from family papers and genealogies; material cultures, monuments, landscapes and handicrafts, hold tales of past events in Tonga as well as the missionaries’ records, British subjects’ official correspondences and Government papers in libraries, archives in Tonga, New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii. This Talatukufakaholo story aspires to enlighten and even present the problem of “acculturation” (which Rutherford, Connan, and Niumeitolu claimed) and in a more comprehensible version from the logic of culture. It challenges Tongan Wesleyans themselves in a positive sense; that their divisive religious identities of Fakaongo and Tau’ataina could be reviewed in the light of Christ’s loyalty to God the Father from his birth to his death on the Cross, as narrated in the Bible. The ensuing confusion between the Tongan Wesleyans’ Fakaongo loyalties to Tu’i, chiefs, Church leaders and their loyalties to God to obtain spiritual Tau’ataina liberty was truly enhanced by European civilization and Methodists’ doctrine let alone the hardships they faced. The interplay between these parties had finally formulated the Tongan Wesleyan religious identity of Fakaongo and Tau’ataina. Hence, the relevance of this study is that it offers a functional insider view of the problem of acculturation in Tongan context. 1. Beside the Conflicting (Marxist dialectic) and Individualistic approaches (experiential and behaviouristic based), Functional approach is used to study the functions of the two outstanding tenets of Tongan traditional culture and their impacts on the institution of the Kau Fakaongo and Tau’ataina as Tongan Wesleyan religious identities in 1885.
Identification (Religion), Wesleyan Church doctrines, Traditional religion, Tonga, Religious identities