Haʻafeva is a small island in the Haʻapai group of Tonga, but still the main island of the Lulunga archipelago. Kolongatata is the name commonly given to the village on Haʻafeva and is a reference to Haʻafeva's exposure to strong winds. The inhabited area of Haʻafeva can be divided into Hahake, Hihifo, Tuʻa Kolo, Loto Kolo and Uta. The Island has a population of about 300 people.
Haʻafeva is located 42 km southwest of Pangai in the Haʻapai group of islands at Latitude (DMS) 19° 56' 60 S and Longitude (DMS) 174° 43' 0 W.
It is the home estate of chiefly line of Tuʻuhetoka, (now merged with Lasike). It was Moatunu, one of their ancestors who once saved Tāufaʻāhau I from losing a decisive battle and even death at the Battle of Velata in 1826. When Tāufaʻāhau had come to Haʻafeva to ask the chief for help with his war against Laufilitonga, the last Tuʻi Tonga to be, initially the chief did not want to help him, having his allegiance with the other. But when his sister threatened to go instead, he switched loyalty, and fought close to Tāufaʻāhau. Then the latter was hit on the head by several attackers and lay unconscious on the ground. The Haʻafeva chief fought off all the enemies until Tāufaʻāhau became conscious again. Later this warrior was named "Tuʻu-he-toka" meaning "Standing while the chief is sleeping". Interesting note: if Tāufaʻāhau would have been a commoner instead of a chief, the proper term would be tuʻu-he-mohe; if he would already have been king, tuʻu-he-tōfā would have to be used.
It is also of note that the area around the island was the site of the 1789 Mutiny on the Bounty.
Haʻafeva is home to an excavation site dubbed 'Mele Havea' site after Mele Havea whose house is nearby. Hundreds of pieces of early Eastern Lapita pottery were unearthed at this site in 1996 and 1997 along with various other artifacts of early settlement of the Island. Carbon dating places these artifacts at approximately 2690 to 2490 years BP.
Haʻafeva was to have been the destination of the ill-fated MV Princess Ashika, an inter-island ferry which sank on 5 August 2009 tragically claiming many lives. Most of those who were killed were women and children as it is usual in Tonga for men to sleep outside on the deck of the boats while the children and women are sheltered inside.
^ a b Fears no women or children survived ferry sinking, New Zealand Herald, 6 August 2009.
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