Tonga brings the joy back after COVID gathering restrictions

Tonga Institute of Higher Education’s School of Tourism and Hospitality students on their float. Photo: Tonga Institute of Higher Education

The Kingdom of Tonga last week held a float parade to lift people’s spirits and provide some sense of normalcy after a year where mass gatherings were mainly cancelled.

People flocked to Nuku’alofa’s waterfront to enjoy the event, with prizes for cultural and business entries awarded by Princess Frederica Tuita Filipe.

Tonga Institute of Higher Education’s School of Tourism and Hospitality grabbed the first prize under the business category with Digicel and the Customs-Revenue Ministry as runner-ups. In third place was the Education Ministry.

It took the winner about seven hours on Sunday to complete their float.

Tonga Institute of Higher Education lecturer Selita Kinikini-Latu said they wanted their float to discourage young generations from dropping out of school and focus on education to help build the economy.

“We didn’t buy new resources; the students donated materials so we used flowers, coconut leaves and anything we could find in our own backyards,” he said.

“Those who participated in creating the float had no experience in weaving, but worked as a team to figure out how to utilise the materials they had.”

Fisi’ihangale Handicraft Development Group from Va’epopua won first place under the cultural category, while the To’utup Siulana he ‘Ofa from Nukuhetulu came second.

Marching school bands from Tonga College, Tonga High School and Teacher’s Training College and Tailulu College were also featured on the parade.

Photos: Tonga Institute of Higher Education

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