Tonga Taxation

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Taxation

Taxation Tongan Style.  Taxation took three basic forms.

1.  Taxation by tribute was given twice a year.  The first was the first fruit 'inasi ceremony that was a form of prayer to the gods for ample crops in the forthcoming season.  The second 'inasi ceremony was a tribute where district chiefs occasionally determined the amount and kind of items demanded from their district landowners.  At this second tribute offering, the choice of tribute was often left up to the individual.  However, if the tribute was deemed lacking, that individual could find his or her property taken away.  Therefore, the second 'inasi tribute ceremony was often termed a "gift of respect" and resulted in individual tax payment greater than was expected.

2.  Taxation by corvee which means enforced labor.  Major efforts were carried out through corvee and were essentially carried out on larger landholdings of important chiefs.  At times, two or three times a week, laborers from inferior chief's entourage would work for other chiefs to plant and work the plantations such as for the Tu'i Kanokupolo.

3.  Taxation by fono was a public meeting and compulsory.  Decrees, advise, and warnings were issued at these meetings.  Tribute might be in demanding food for special occassions such as feasts or burial ceremonies.  A fono could also be used to organize and appoint work details.  Chiefs seldom attended these fono events and sent their matapule advisors.  Lesser chiefs would hold smaller fono meetings for their tenants.  There was no give and take discussions at fonos.  Essentially the work was accomplished by those under the rule of the lesser chiefs.[1]

References

  1. Ferdon, Edwin N.Early Tonga As the Explorers Saw It 1616-1810, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona.