Battle of Velata

The Battle of Velata was fought at Tau'akipulu, Haʻapai, Tonga in September 1826, between Laufilitonga, monarch of the Tuʻi Tonga dynasty, and Taufa'ahau, heir apparent to the Tu'i Kanokupolu dynasty and then monarch of Tonga.

The battle

Tupouto'a died in 1812

Taufa'ahau and Moatunu's fighting skills and bravery proved formibable. According to records, women who stood and witnessed the battle held their chests in amazement at the strength and enormous bravery (Fanga 'Ihe Si) shown by the two men.

The noble title Tu'uhetoka originated at the Battle of Velata. In the aftermath, Taufa'ahau slept while Moatunu stood guard. Taufa'ahau woke up to find Moatunu still on sentry duty and for the first time bestowed the title Tu'uhetoka on the warrior. Other Tongan names and phrases also emerged as a result of the battle including locations and names such as Tau'aki Pulu (they have bullets, we have bullets), Fanga'ihe Si, Loto'aniu and Tongaleleka (Tonga flee in fright), Pangai Lifuka (landing on the marked location), Fetu'ufuka (marked by the star) along with the well-known Tongan phrase Tu'aTalatau Tu'ataKilangi Houmakelikao 'ae Houma Niutao, meaning an individual or insignificant character who picks a fight or task that is far beyond his ability and results in total failure. The phrase originated when Namoa (Tupou) reprimanded Laufilitonga of the Tuʻi Tonga Dynasty for his declaration of war on Taufa'ahau. Laufilitonga was remorseful and submissive as he felt the full force of the fury of Namoa.


The battle also marked the end of any ruling authority of Laufilitonga and the Tuʻi Tonga in Ha'apai and the ascending of Taufa'ahau as the Tu'i Ha'apai or ruler of the Ha'apai Islands.

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