The Matriculation School

“The Government is looking foward to establishing a new school in 1947. This idea is to enable students to sit examinations here in Tonga and then enter the University in New Zealand. The School will be situated at the location of the Government School (Tonga College Dormitory in Nuku’alofa.)” This remark was made by the Founder of the school, then Minister of Education, Prince Tungi (now HM King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV) before the establishment of the Matriculation School or “Ako Matematikca” in Tonga.

His Royal Highness wanted to lift the standard of Education in Tonga to that of countries such as New Zealand and Australia. Prince Tungi had graduated from Sydney University with a BA LLB and returned to Tonga following his father’s death in 1942. He was given the portfolio of Education, and in 1944 he established the Tonga Teachers’ College and in 1947, the Matriculation School. The school followed the New Zealand syllabus and teachers were recruited from the same country.

It was a fine day on the 4th of June, 1947. There was a soft breeze blowing because the small yellow and brown leaves of the raintree floated down to where students sat. The officials on the chairs were His Royal Higness Prince Tungi (Minister of Education) Hon. ‘Ata (the Premier), Hon. Tu’iha’ateiho (Minister of Lands), Mr. K. R. Lamliee (Director of Education), Mr Stafford (Principal of Tonga Teachers College), Mr and Mrs Greem (The teachers of the new school). The rest were seated on the grass under the shade of the big raintree at the Southern side of the main Tonga High School Building.

Speeches were delivered and then the Minister of Education formally opened the Matriculation School The name later to be changed in 1950 to Tonga High School, its current monica.