Quick Facts on Tonga

Tonga is composed of about 170 volcanic and coral islands with a total land area of about 700 sq. kilometers and a population of just under 100,000 people of Polynesian origin. Tonga is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV as Head of State. The national capital, Nuku'alofa, is located on the major island group Tongatapu.

Official Name

Kingdom of Tonga


Area: 699 sq km (270 sq mi).
Capital and largest city: Nuku'alofa (1996 pop. 66,577), (1986 pop. 21,383).

Education and Health

Literacy (1986 est.): 90-95% of adult population.
Universities (1997): Three. ('Atenisi University offers up to Masters degree level, the other two university campuses University of the Nations, and University of the South Pacific offer partial degree training)
Hospital beds (1989): 307.
Physicians (1989): 45.
Life expectancy (1992): women--70; men--65.
Infant mortality (1992): 22 per 1,000 live births.


Tonga exports fruit and vegetables, coconut oil, fish, garments and some other manufactured goods. Tourism is a small but growing industry, with more than 35,000 visitors welcomed annually.

GDP (1990 est.): $92 million; $900 per capita.
Labour distribution (1989): agriculture and fishing--43%; manufacturing and construction--10%; public administration, services, other--47%.
Foreign trade (1990 est.): imports--$59.9 million; exports--$9.6 million; principal trade partners--New Zealand, Australia, United States, Japan.
Currency: 1 pa'anga (Tongan dollar) = 100 seniti.


Railroads (1997): none. Railroads were used in early copra industry but have been dismantled.
Roads (1990): 433 km (269 mi).
International Sea Ports: 2 (Neiafu in Vava'u, Nuku'alofa in Tongatapu)
International airfields: 2 (Lupepau'u in Vava'u, Fua'amotu in Tongatapu).

Telephones: Tonga Telecom provides a mobile, pager, and stationary telephone services. Unfortunately phone plugs are randomly distributed between RJ11, BT, and a spliced cable to the phone.

ISP: Cable & Wireless www.candw.to
E-mail: Tonga Electronic Secretary Service www.tongatapu.net.to
E-mail: Pacific Trade Company patcom.com.to

Telephony Services: International Subscriber Dialing (ISD), Subscriber Trunk Dialing (STD), Facsimile, Telex. Mobile GSM.

Inter-Island Communications: Satellite link between Tongatapu, Ha'apai, Vava'u. Telephone radio link between to other islands.

Buses, taxis and rental cars are readily available in urban areas.


Constitutional monarchy.
Government leaders (1997): King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV; Baron Vaea--premier.
Legislature: Legislative Assembly.
Political subdivisions: 4 main island groups. (Niuas, Vava'u, Ha'apai, Tongatapu/'Eua)
Governance and Tonga . . .


Population (1996 census): 97,446; density: 150 persons per sq km. (1992 est.): 103,114; density: 148 persons per sq km (382 per sq mi).
Distribution (1996 census): Tongatapu, 256 psqkm (highest population density), 66,577 residents, 68.3% of population Vava'u 132 psqkm, 15,779 residents, 16.2% of population Ha'apai 74 psqkm, 8,148, 8.4% of population 'Eua 56 psqkm, 4,924, 5% of population Niua's 28 psqkm, 2,018, 2.1% of population. (1986): 31% urban, 69% rural.
Annual growth (1996) 0.3%. (1992): 0.9%.


Population Census 1996

Source: Tonga Chronicle


Usually mild and warm, although nights can be cool, with temperatures averaging about 25C. December to March is the wet season.


Visitors are welcome for 30 days provided they have an onward sea or air ticket. Extensions for stays up to six months are normally obtained without difficulty. Visitors may not obtain employment without a permit.

Business Hours

Banks are open Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Shops are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm and Saturday mornings until noon.


Sunday activities are restricted to religious observance and obeyance of the Sabbath laws. Shops are closed, most transport is suspended, and sport is not encouraged.

Official languages:

Tongan, English.

Major religion:

Christianity (the major denominations being Methodist)

Time Zone



230 volts
60 Hz
approximate. 30 cents US a Kilowatt Hour


There are usually no taxi meters so ask in advance for the fare to your destination. The government prescribes a set of standard fees to which operators are supposed to adhere.



Grolier's Encyclopedia 1995, version 7.04, Tonga Chronicle Jan 1997, Royal Tongan Airlines Magazine

[ref: http://www.tongatapu.net.to]
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