4th centenary of Dutch visit to Tonga

Last week, our Director Pasifika, Associate Professor Malakai Koloamatangi travelled to Tonga to partake in celebrations commemorating the 1616 visit of Jacob Le Maire and Willem Cornelisz Schouten to the kingdom. The Dutch explorers were the first Europeans to visit Tonga, in a journey which sought to circumnavigate the globe. The visit was honoured in Nuku’alofa with an exhibition, the unveiling of commemorative stamps and the presentation of a book Atlas of Cape of Hoorn from HE Mr Robert Zaagman, Ambassador of the Netherlands to HRH Crown Prince Tupouto’a.


Commemorative stamps in honour of Schouten and Le Maire’s 1616 visit

Associate Professor Koloamatangi delivered the keynote lecture on Tongan perceptions of that first contact, pointing out that the people of Niua (where Schouten and Le Maire made landfall) still retell the story of the encounter. He also highlighted, along with others present, just how important the visit was for Tonga as it opened the small kingdom up to the rest of the world and placed it for the first time on European maps.


HE Mr Robert Zaagman – Ambassador from the Netherlands, Associate Professor Malakai Koloamatangi and Hon. Fe’ao Vakata, Minister of Internal Affairs for the Kingdom of Tonga

The event also served as a way of celebrating the friendly relationship that exists between Tonga and the Netherlands.

More information about the celebrations can be found here.


Pasifika@Massey A Massey Site