Tonga

Who wrote the Tongan National Anthem?

By January 9, 2019 No Comments

Carl Gustav Schmitt (1833–1900) was a New Zealand composer. He was born in Germany. He composed over 1500 violin concertos throughout his career including the national anthem of Tonga, “Ko e fasi ‘o e tu’i ‘o e ‘Otu Tonga”, where he had written the music set to lyrics written by ʻUelingatoni Ngū Tupoumalohi, the second Crown Prince of the island kingdom at the time.

The anthem was first performed in 1874, though it probably was in use earlier. Officially it is named “Ko e fasi ʻo e tuʻi ʻo e ʻOtu Tonga”, but it is more popularly known as “Fasi Fakafonua”. The anthem references King Tupou; while this was the name of the king of Tonga when the anthem was written, it is also the name of the Tongan Royal House, and therefore of every Tongan ruler since 1874.

Tongan lyrics (modern spelling)
ʻE ʻotua māfimafi
Ko homau ʻeiki koe
Ko koe ko e falalaʻanga
Mo e ‘ofa ki Tonga;

ʻAfio hifo ʻemau lotu
ʻA ia ʻoku mau faí ni
Mo ke tali homau loto
ʻO maluʻi ʻa Tupou.

English lyrics (literal translation)
Oh, almighty God!
You are our Lord,
It is You, the pillar
And the love to Tonga.
Look down on our prayer
That is what we do now
And may You answer our wish
To protect Tupou.