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Tonga’s Liahona High School Turns 70

During post-war 1947 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints determined to replace its Makeke School with what is today the Liahona High School. Seventy years later, the Church still operates the school, providing educational opportunities to the youth of Tonga.


A celebration of its 70th anniversary was held at Liahona High School on 7 September 2017.

The day of celebration began with a parade and continued with a traditional dance – the school Ma’ulu’ulu. Also included as part of the festivities, were a cake ceremony, the American football championship game and the final of the Liahona’s Got Talent competition.

Remarks were given by Malcolm Sheward, Assistant Area Seminary and Institute Director, and Elder ‘Aisake Tukuafu, Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


The Church’s educational efforts in the Pacific began in the early 1850s when Louisa B. Pratt, wife of LDS missionary Addison Pratt, began teaching Tahitian children in her home. Decades later, in 1856, the Church opened schools for the Maori people of New Zealand. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Church schools were also opened in Tonga and Samoa.

These and similar efforts to educate the youth of the South Pacific continue today. Additionally, utilizing the reach of technology, the Church now offers PathwayConnect which enables people throughout much of the South Pacific to learn English and, ultimately, earn a college degree from Brigham Young University – Idaho.


According to Delworth Keith Young’s “Liahona High School, Its Prologue and Development to 1965”, land for the Makeke School was originally leased in 1922 and that same year construction began. The school continued to operate until September 1947 when the buildings of the Makeke School were dismantled and reassembled on the Liahona plantation. Construction continued until dedication of the Liahona College on December 1, 1953.


In April 1961, the name of the school was changed to Liahona High School.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encourages people to educate their minds, improve their skills, and perfect their abilities so that we can better influence the world for good, provide for ourselves, our family, and those in need.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, a beloved president of the Church, taught, “We (members of the Church) have an obligation to train our hands and minds to excel in the work of the world, for the blessing of all mankind.”

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