“Tonga provides the finest mat weaving world-wide,” we were told by the lecturer on board our cruise ship. We had docked by Nuku-Alofa the capital of Tonga on the island of Tongatapu and decided to take one of the organised excursions to the Tonga National Centre where many of the crafts were to be demonstrated. Whereas agriculture is the prime export, the handicrafts provide an important tourist attraction and the skills, that have been handed down over generations of Tongan history, are maintained. It surprised us that an island in such a remote part of the South Pacific should be a bustling centre of activity.
The international date line veers east to avoid dividing Tonga into two days. Its time is in fact 13 hours ahead of GMT...More