Tongatapu and World War Two was a collaboration between the Tauranga Heritage Collection and Tauranga City Libraries and acknowledged Tongan Language Week (1-7 September 2019). For the first time the display gave the public a glimpse of war time photography captured by local legend and photographer Alf Rendell.
Alf enlisted in the New Zealand Army 78 years ago and from October 1942 to March 1943 he was garrisoned to Tongatapu as part of the 34th Battalion, 3rd Division. Tongatapu, which means 'Sacred Tonga', is the main island of the Kingdom of Tonga. On arrival to the island troops were asked to hand in their cameras and one soldier was selected as the Battalion photographer. With a good stock of film and credentials as a professional photographer, Alf was the obvious choice. Issued with a bicycle, Alf was given permission to roam the island and in his free time he took photographs of the Tongan people.
‘I he 1941 mahina ‘o Sepitema na’e kau ‘a Alf Rendell ‘ihe sotia tau malu’i fonua ‘a Nu’usila. Mei ‘Okatopa 1942 ki Ma’asi 1943 na’e kau ‘a Alf Rendell ihe kulupu ne ave mei Nu’usila ke tokoni kihono malu’i ‘a Tonga ‘ihe taimi tau ‘aia koe Patolonia fika 34, koe konga ne vahevahe 3. ‘Ihe tu’uta ‘ae kau tau malu’i fonua ‘a Nu’usila ki Tonga, na’e fekau kinautolu ke ‘oange ‘enau ‘u me’a faitaa kotoa, pea koe sotia e tokotaha na’e fili koe tama faitaa ‘ae kau tau malu’i fonua ‘a Nu’usila. Tupu meihe maau moe lahi ‘ae ‘u filimi moe naunau faitaa ‘a Alf Rendell koia na’e fili ai ‘a Alf. Na’e ‘oange mo’ene pasikala mo’ene ngofua kene ‘alu takai holo he motu, ‘ihe’ene taimi ‘ataa na’e ‘alu holo ‘a Alf Rendell ‘o faitaa’i e kakai Tonga, ‘aia na’ane ‘ilo koe kakai angalelei mo fakafe’iloaki.