A charming and previously unseen photo of the teenage Princess Sālote Tupou, of Tonga, appears to have been found in an historical photo collection donated to the Museum of Samoa some time ago.
The photo, reproduced here, is important because there are relatively few good quality images of Princess Sālote that have survived from her teenage years.
As Queen Sālote Tupou III, she was the highly popular Tongan monarch for an extraordinary 47 years between 1918 and 1965. The photo is among a number of digital files donated to the museum by Mrs Thora Taylor, of Auckland, granddaughter of a former German lawyer in Apia, Mr Gustav Klinkmüller, who was a keen photographer and collector.
Princess Sālote, who was born in 1900, returned to Tonga from attendance at Diocesan School for Girls, in Auckland, for several months between December 1913 and March 1914 and it is possible that this photo was taken during that period (Sālote completed her schooling at Diocesan in late 1914). Also included here is a studio photo of Sālote taken in Auckland by Herman Schmidt a few years before in 1911.
The Sālote photo, which shows her in a traditional costume, appears to be associated in time and location with a number of other photos (also previously unseen) which the museum has received from both the Klinkmüller family and another private donor, Mrs Gesa Akkerman-Ohle, which show large-scale cultural performances at Ha’apai, Tonga, around 1913-14.
This major event may have been attended by King George Tupou II and daughter Sālote. Sālote (a Tongan variant for ‘Charlotte’) is known to have belonged to a dance group and was a frequent performer of the Samoan ma’ulu’ulu.
We present also two images from the spectacular occasion at Ha’apai, though the Museum holds many more photos taken at this gathering.