Recently, Port Wine was lucky enough to host the Crown Prince ‘Ulukalala and Prince Ata in our family home at Sailoame, Neiafu, Vava’u. Gary Lavaki, Heneli and Tupou Kioa, Lucy and Haniteli Fa’anunu and close friends and family were also amongst the guests. Below are some shots of their time here at Port Wine. The evening was celebrated with some traditional music and kava to commemorate the opening of Vaipua Bridge and to celebrate the festive season.
In recent weeks Port Wine Guesthouse has been home to the wedding of Nick Lenehan and Chantelle Lovell. The wedding week was filled with many trips to local beaches and restaurants, with everyone having lots of fun! The wedding day was a great success, featuring a Tongan floorshow as well as many local and international acts. We wish both Nick and Chan the best of luck for their future as husband and wife.
The Port Wine Guest House (or in Tongan 'Pota Uaine Fale') is in Neiafu, Vava'u, and was named after His Majesty King George II’s favourite drink Port.
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 email@example.com 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.
Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was in Tonga a few weeks back. Below are just a few snaps of what we got up to whilst he was around!
In 2010, the 30th Heilala Festival ran from 10 – 24 July and coincided with the birthday of Crown Prince Tupouto’a Lavaka.
The Heilala Festival is a unique event which blends ancient traditions and timeless culture with modern entertainment and recreational activities. The Heilala Festival symbolises the Kingdom of Tonga’s great pride in its cultural heritage and is the perfect time to witness the splendor and grace of Tonga’s traditional dances; share in the Tongan people’s amazing gift for song and harmony; marvel at the handiwork of local artisans, and enjoy watching or participating in different sporting events.
Check out some of the photos we took whilst the festival was in Vava'u.
The Festival is named after Tonga’s national flower, the Heilala, which is the highest in the hierarchy of the Tongan flowers. The Heilala plant has both male and female variety, but only the female variety flowers. The Heilala plant is very difficult to propagate and has to be closely nurtured to survive.
Mr Sakopo Lolohea, CEO of the Tonga Visitors Bureau (Ministry of Tourism), noted “many people overseas make plans every year to come to Tonga during the Heilala Festival. They feel that this is a good time to be in Tonga. We wanted to foster that feeling, as a new spirit of cooperation could help further boost the tourism industries and our economy in general”.
Last year, swimming with whales in Vava'u was featured on Australia's "Getaway" on Channel 9.
Last year, the crew from Channel 9’s Today Show visited Tonga, and headed up to the beautiful harbour city of Neiafu in Vava’u to film a swimming with whales special for the show.
Their trip also coincided with the second annual Regatta Vava’u and Festival which meant Neiafu was presented in all it’s splendour for the duration of their visit.
Presenter Cameron Williams and the crew were taken out Whalewatching with Beluga Diving for a day on the water. The crew was said to be blown away by the natural beauty of Vava’u and friendliness of the local people, and once in lifetime experience of swimming with the whales.
After spotting, and then swimming with a mother a calf, Presenter Cameron Williams described the experience as “absolutely amazing” and “like being in outer space”.
Port Wine News
About Port Wine
_Named after King George Tupou II’s favourite drink Port and established in the 1970s by the Tuiniua family in Neiafu, Vava'u - a water & nature lovers’ paradise in Tonga.
Enjoy our relaxed South Pacific pace & Polynesian way of life. Swim with whales, snorkel, dive, kayak, fish, feast & MORE! You’ll arrive as a guest but you’ll leave as our friend.
To inquire or make a reservation, please contact Port Wine Guest House directly via firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone +676 70-479.