"a stone to lean against"

Research into the art of stone laying (Traditional Tongan art form)

Haʻamonga ʻa Maui ("The Burden of Maui") is a stone trilithon located in Tonga, on the north of the island of Tongatapu, near the village of Niutōua, in Heketā. It was built in the 13th century by King Tuʻitātui in honor of his two sons. The monument is sometimes called the "Stonehenge of the Pacific".


The word haʻamonga means "a stick with loads on both ends, carried over the shoulder". Maui is a cultural hero in Polynesian mythology.



Photograph from the 1880s, side view

Photograph from the 1880s, front view


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"Near the trilithon is a stone throne called the ʻEsi maka faakinanga ("stone to lean against"). It was believed that when the king was seated with his back against the throne, he was safe from assassins who may sneak up behind him, and with his long stick he could hit every potential foe from the front on his knees."


Tufunga Langa'esi

Tongan term for the material arts and artists of aristocratic resting-mound-making using stone


Tufunga ngaohilangi

Tongan term for the material arts and artist of royal-tomb-making using stone


tufunga tamaka

Tongan term for artist who cuts stone (occupation stopped after colonisation)


Royal tombstones





Notes: once I've made some resin pieces, I'd like to stay them and see where it takes me

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Tongan creation story

Written and translated by Dr. Mahina. A lot of this information directly contradicts my current studio work, detangling Maori, Samoan and general pan-pacifika content is very hard to do. Luckily this

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