A number of photos of dancing performances at Ha’apai in Tonga from around 1913-14 have recently become available.
These may not have been seen before and are from a collection donated to the Museum of Samoa in 2016 by Mrs Gesa Akkerman-Ohle, granddaughter of a former German businessman in Samoa, Mr Karl Hanssen.
Mr Hanssen labelled these photos, ‘Ta’alolo, Haabai,’ referring to a Samoan ceremonial parade and presentation. This major event is on such a scale that it may have been attended by the Tongan monarch, King George Tupou II.
The first two photos show men wearing hats and wielding clubs in a version of the Tongan war dance, the Kailao. Others show women sitting down performing the Samoan Ma’ulu’ulu, which is popular in Tonga. Men and women are also shown doing the Lakalaka.