Tongan Culture

Naming

  • Tongan names are written with the first name followed by the last name. For example, Anitelu TAUMALOLO.
  • The origins of given names vary. For example, the name may have a Biblical reference or refer to objects (such as flowers), an event, ancestors, friends or famous people.
  • Surnames in Tonga not only reflect the family one belongs to but often indicates the village one comes from. 
  • Surnames are passed down from previous generations along the father’s line of descent.
  • Certain names are only allowed to be given to members of the royal family.
  • Once a Tongan obtains a hereditary title, they will be referred to by that title and no longer by their given name. Such titles are usually for life, but the holder can be stripped of it if they commit a serious crime. In this case, they will return to their original name.

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