Gifford, Edward Winslow, 1887-1959. Tongan society

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Tongan Society



Census Data

Ancient Distribution Of Population

Modern Village Population

Sex And Age In The Tongan Population



The Family

The Constitution Of The Family

Rank Within The Family

The Family, The Key To Tongan Society

The Head Of The Family

Daughters And Sons

Brother-sister Tapu

The Fahu


Kinship Terms

The Lineages

Present Day Lineages

Tui Tonga

Haa Talafale

Haa Fale Fisi

Haa Takalaua

Haa Vaea

Haa Ngata Motua

Haa Latu Hifo

Haa Havea

Haa Ngata Tupu

Haa Maliepo

Haa Motuapuaka Or Haa Molofaha

Haa Falefa

Haa Toutai

Divisions Of Lineages

Lineages In Speech Preludes

Ancient Lineages


The Kingship

The Male Tui Tonga

Sequence Of The Tui Tonga

Characterization Of The Tui Tonga

The Great Royal Wife Of The Tui Tonga

The Appointment Of The Tui Tonga

The Court Of The Tui Tonga

The Life Of The Tui Tonga

Ceremonial Functions Of The Tui Tonga

Tombs Of The Tui Tonga

The Female Tui Tonga

The Tamaha

The Tui Haa Takalaua

The Tui Kanokupolu

Characterization Of The Various Tui Kanokupolu

The Appointment Of The Tui Kanokupolu

The Appointment Of The Present Tui Kanokupolu

The Power Of The Tui Kanokupolu

The Residence Of The Tui Kanokupolu

The Falefa Of The Tui Kanokupolu

Ngata And The Haa Latu Hifo

First Fruits And Tribute

Social Classes

Indications Of Rank

The Act Of Obeisance

Rank And Language


Special Treatment Of Children Of Chiefs


The Chiefs Of Lofanga Island, Haapai

Titles Of Chiefs


Artisans And Occupations


Other Occupations

Titles Of Matapules And Artisans

Transmission Of Titles


Kava Drinking

Differences Of Procedure

Making And Serving Kava

Precedence In The Kava Circle

Funeral Kava Ceremonies

Land Ownership

Modern Landed Nobles

The Personal Lands Of The Tui Tonga


Absence Of True Communal Lands

Fishing Rights

Communal Fences, Cisterns, And Wells

Notes On Land Holdings





Inheritance Of Personal Property



Life Crises


Girls' Puberty Observances

Boys' Puberty Observances


Marriage Ceremonies





War Stories

The War Of Takai At Feletoa, Vavau 6

Campaigns Of The Tui Kanokupolu Tupoutoa And His Son Taufaahau, 1812-1845 7

Taufaahau's Guns A

Taufaahau And Ulukalala Versus The Heathens Of Vavau

Taufaahau's Campaign Against Uiha

Taufaahau's War Chief, Havili Of Nomuka 8

The People Of Atata Avenged 9

How Taufaahau Held Nomuka 10

Feuds In Eua Island

Tuutaki, The Famous Warrior Of Eua



Etiquette And Habits


Personal Names

The Outlying Islands

Ata Island

Niuatoputapu Island

Tongan Religion







Tui Haa Fakafanua



Tui Tofua

Deities Of Tongatabu Island

Deities Of Eua Island

Deities Of Lifuka Island

Deities Of Foa Island

Deities Of Haafeva Island

Deities Of Fotuhaa Island

Deities Of Haano Island

Deities Of Moungaone Island

Deities Of Nomuka Island

Deities Of Uiha Island

Deities Of Vavau

Deities Of Niuatoputapu

Priests And Possession

Human Sacrifice


Sacred Animals


Ghosts And Souls





Sickness From Supernatural Causes



Occupational Ceremonial


The Advent Of Christianity

Historical Conclusion

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Tongan society

Published By: Original publisher Honolulu, Hawaii: The Museum. 1929. iv, 366 p. ill., map

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication by Edward Winslow Gifford

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2006. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Tongans (OU09)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Place names (103); Sociolinguistics (195); Personal names (551); Status, role, and prestige (554); Classes (565); Nuptials (585); Family relationships (593); Kinship terminology (601); Avuncular and nepotic relatives (604); Lineages (613); Community heads (622); Chief executive (643); Executive household (644); Revolution (669); Spirits and gods (776); Priesthood (793);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This is a general ethnographic introduction to Tongan society and culture based on nine months of fieldwork. It covers population, family and kinship, the kingship, social classes, kava drinking, land, property and inheritance, law, life crises (birth, marriage, funeral, etc.), warfare, cannibalism, entertainment, etiquette, keeping genealogies, personal names, and religion. Tongan society is socially and politically complex. The social structure is based on a combination of feudal regulations within and between ranked lineages. The king is the head of the dominant lineage, but each lineage contains chiefs, matapules (similar to an aristocracy) and commoners. Much of this source concerns these class and status relations. Numbers in parentheses refer to the sources in the bibliography which begins on page 351.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 1

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. ou09-001

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: 'Bayard Dominick Expedition. Publication no. 16' Includes bibliographical references (p. 351-353)

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1920-1921

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-4,5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Martin J. Malone; John Beierle; 1978

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 900-1921

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Tonga

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Tongans


Copy and paste a formatted citation or use one of the links below to export the citation to your chosen bibliographic manager.

Export a Citation