Author(s): Bruce Alexander
During 1957 and 1958, Bruce Alexander and Larry Wordsworth, two young and newly qualified land surveyors from Christchurch and Auckland, New Zealand, travelled to the Kingdom of Tonga to start work on an official Cadastral Survey. This book is an account of their work and day-to-day experiences while in this remote Pacific archipelago. Their task: to help fulfil the Constitutional requirements that every Tongan man should be allocated an area of arable land for the support of his family. Since very few Tongans had any qualifications or experience of how to conduct an accurate and fair survey, Bruce and Larry were enlisted as part of a team to start the survey and train locals so they could subsequently complete the task. Much of the time they worked under challenging conditions with minimal equipment and resources. In addition to conducting their duties, they mingled freely with the local people, making many friends and embracing the Tongan way of life with enthusiasm. As this book shows, they made the most of this unique opportunity to record aspects of life in a country visited by few outsiders at that time. The result is an intriguing portrait of an island nation as it started to undergo dramatic social and economic changes in the late 1950s.