Luisa and Pota Tuiniua started inviting tourists to stay in the late 70s, including the Japanese engineers and builders who constructed the Vava’u high school, created roads and worked on some other projects.
As soon as Luisa and Pota’s three children headed off to high school, Pota started working to convert the family home into a guest house. All the while, he continued to work as a town officer and as a fisherman and Luisa worked full time as a midwife. Luisa and Pota formally registered their business in 1983.
Being one of the first accommodation providers in Vava’u, the Port Wine Guest House played a large part in establishing the whale watching industry in Vava’u. Specifically, Pota contributed to the guidelines for protecting the whales and helped marine biologists from New Zealand and Australia establish education programs on sustainable whale watching within the local community.
Pota’s passion was people and he was very good to guests. Pota passed away in 1998, leaving Luisa to continue running the business. Their eldest son Tai inherited the land, as is the custom in Tongan culture. Tai, who had been living in Melbourne Australia for 20 odd years, came back to his home town regularly to help Luisa and maintain the guesthouse. In 2008, Tai permanently moved back to Tonga to improve the existing guesthouse and build a new guest house.
Tai designed the guest house and employed five local men to help him with the construction of the beautiful timber guesthouse. He taught them everything they needed to know about construction, rock walking and gardening. In addition, Tai provided his workers with breakfast and lunch. In return, the men were loyal and worked extremely efficiently. So efficiently in fact, that the new guest house is NOW OPEN (and a number of the boys gained permanent employment in construction)!
The new guest house has four bedrooms, each with an ensuite. The rooms feature lead light lamp shades made by Tai (who has also created stained-glass panels for churches around Tonga including the spectacular Pea Free Wesleyan Church in Nuku’alofa). There is a long wrap around timber verandah where you can view local Tongan carvings and the luscious tropical garden. The heart of the house is a large shared kitchen, featuring a long wooden table and church pews. The shared living room is polished but comfortable, and shows off stained-glass panels (also by Tai), other local Tongan tapa and artwork and photographs of Port Wine's family and friends.
Of course, you can still stay in the original family home come guest house, which has four bedrooms, a shared bathroom, breezy verandah, homely shared living room and large shared kitchen.
At Port Wine and in Vava'u, enjoy the relaxed South Pacific pace and experience our friendly Polynesian way of life. Plus, swim with whales, snorkel, dive, kayak, fish, feast and MORE!
To inquire and make your reservation, contact Port Wine directly via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +676 70-479. And keep in touch and share your stories and photos at Facebook.com/PortWineGuestHouse
Cross posted to the Tonga Visitors Bureau, Minsitry of Tourism, Government of Tonga.