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Nuku alofa is the capital and commercial, transport and social center of Tongamarker. It is located on the north coast of the island of Tongatapumarker, in the southernmost island group of Tonga. It comprises about 35% of the kingdom's population, and is the location of the Tonga Royal Palacemarker, the Sia ko Veiongo (Veiongo Hill).

History

The area for the palace was chosen as the residence of Tu i Kanokupolu Mumui in around 1795. Although the Tu i Kanokupolu was ruler of Tongatapu at the time, the royal court was still located in Mu amarker with the Tu i Tonga, the Tongan line of kings. As such, Mu a was the official capital at that time. A fortress was built at the site by Tupoumālohi in the beginning of the 19th century.
A Mormon temple in Nuku'alofa
In 1837, Tāufa āhau I invaded the area near Fasi mo e afi with his tautahi (sea warriors) – the warriors from Ha apaimarker and Vava umarker. As a reward, his men received parcels of land near the existing settlement, Kolomotu a (Old Town), which were collectively named Kolofo ou (New Town). The old and new towns are separated by the Hala Vaha a kolo (Village Separation Road).
Downtown Nuku'alofa
Nuku alofa was made the capital of Tonga in 1845 by Tāufa āhau I, though he resided in Lifuka from 1847 to 1851. It remained a small village initially, slowly growing in size over time. The area immediately to its east, Fasi mo e afi, was not subdivided and allotted until 1923. Around the time of the Second World War, Fasi mo e afi merged with Ma ufanga, the estate of the Fakafānua chiefs further to the east. A new wharf was built there by the American army in 1942, still known as Fā-ua (Forty-two). In the west, Nuku alofa reached as far as Sopu o Tāufa āhau, which was deemed far enough from town for the relocation of Queen Sālote when the population of Nuku alofa was forced to evacuate due to possible military attack.

Since the 1960s, the town has experienced rapid growth, in part due to its slow absorption of older villages around it, such as Tofoamarker.

Much of the business district of the city was destroyed during the 2006 Nuku'alofa riots.

Nuku'alofa has a population of 22,400 people, 35% of Tonga's population.

Government

Parliament building in Nuku'alofa
There are district officers ( ofisa vahe) and town officers ( ofisa kolo), as in all villages of Tonga. Their main task is to disseminate the orders of the government to the people. Vacancies for town officer positions are usually advertised in the local newspapers. Services such as police, fire brigade, hospital, and so forth are arranged by the national government.

The national government is heaquartered in Nuku'alofa. The parliament of Tonga meets in Nuku'alofa, and the Royal Palace is located near the city. The city is home to the embassies of foreign countries.

Economy

Talamahu Market
Nuku'alofa is the economic hub of the country. Prior to its disestablishment, Royal Tongan Airlines had its head office in the Royco Building in Nukuʻalofa.

Tonga's current airline, Peau Vava'u, operates from Fua'amotu International Airport, near Nuku'alofa.

The city has markets and a central business district.

Transport

Nuku alofa is the central hub for transport in Tonga.

Buses arrive and depart from the central bus station along Vuna Road close to the centre of town. Bus services are privately operated, and their drivers are free to set their own schedules. Fares are fixed by the government, with reduced rates for school children. The buses are usually filled to capacity. In addition, some schools and large hotels provide their own buses.

There are numerous taxis, also privately owned. Many people who own a car earn extra money by providing taxi services in their spare time. Taxi fares are also set by the government. Most families have their own car; few residents ride bicycles. There are no railways or trams in Tonga.
Fua'amotu International Airport, near Nuku'alofa
Nuku alofa harbour is the only deep-water harbour of the island, which determined its selection as the site for the capital. For many years Vuna Wharf was the international harbour until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1977. A new, much larger wharf was built towards Ma ufanga, named after Queen Sālote. Between these two wharves is the wharf numbered '42', used by fishermen and inter-island ferries wharf. It is the central hub for boats to the outer islands. There are usually two boats to Euamarker each day, and two to Ha apaimarker and Vava umarker each week. In addition to these regular services by shipping companies, private boat owners provide less regular services to smaller islands such as Nomukamarker and Eueiki.

Air transport is provided by Fua amotu International Airportmarker on the south side of Tongatapu, 35 kilometres from Nuku alofa.

Sister cities



See also



References

  1. "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 30 March - 5 April 2004. 61.
  2. " Contact Information." Royal Tongan Airlines. 6 June 2004. Retrieved on 23 October 2009.



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