A Tongan Heritage The Ahau And Lavaka Family Of Houma Tonga
My daughter Sylvia has a wonderful family tree. She descends from many brave, strong and wonderful ancestors. In fact there are so many stories from both sides of the family tree including her Tongan side that I think I would like to share here on The Inspiration Edit. After all, our ancestors are an Inspiration to me and Sylvia and this would be a great place to keep a record.
The Ahau Family Of Houma, Tonga
Sylvia’s grandmother Folola came from the village of Houma. Houma is a lovely place to visit and famous for the Tongan blowholes. In fact I lived in the village of Houma back in 2006 after marrying Sylvia’s father Tevita Kainga. Houma is a beautiful village full of friendly people whom I love and miss.
Living in Houma gave me a chance to meet Folola’s siblings, my daughter’s great aunties and uncles, the children of Sosaia Ahau and Maele Lavaka.
I got to know the family and had a chance to research the family tree which was wonderful.
Folola took me to the graves of her parents and ancestors and I met some of the elderly family members including Sosaia’s brother Soane, to listen to him and find out as much as I could about the older generations.
Sosaia Ahau, my daughter’s great grandfather actually fought in the great world war. He was the last Tongan soldier to pass away in Tonga and when he passed on in 2005, he was given a state funeral.
I visited Sosaia’s graveside six months after he passed. He was buried in Houma, in the graveyard of many of my daughter’s ancestors.
Sosaia Ahau and Maele Lavaka had a lot of children, Oliveti, Folola, Mele, Tangakina, Aita, Luatangi, Koheleti, Sisi and Malia. Luatangi Ahau passed away last year in 2017. He is buried in Houma and left behind two living children Tuifua and Folola leka. His middle child Lisa passed away back in 2007 and so did his wife not long after.
(Lisa Ahau – Luatangi’s daughter a week before she passed away- 2007)
Sosaia Ahau was the son of Tupou Vaivai ‘Ahau Vailea and Malia Siosefa Pauli.
Tupou was the child of Tevita Kolinasi Taunga Puaka and Katalina Mite. I was told stories about Katalina.
Oral histories are very strong in the Pacific and from what I recall Katalina listened to the Catholic Missionaries who came to the Islands preaching the word of God.
Katalina was a strong women who shared her beliefs with many and actively encouraged many people in Tonga to be baptised into the Catholic faith.
Katalina is buried in Houma and I visited her grave. She has a monument to mark her burial place. I am not surprised that such strong Tongan woman married Tevita Puaka from Houma. He was a descent of the Vaea’s or Barons of Houma and had a strong connection to the Tongan Royal family.
The Family Tree goes from the Vaea’s of Tonga directly to the King of Tonga. My daughter and anyone who descends from Sosaia Ahau her great grandfather have royal blood running through their veins, it’s a part of who they are.
Here is the family tree of Sosaia Ahau.
Sosaia Ahau and Maele Lavaka
Tupou Vaivai Ahau Vailea and Malia Siosefa Pauli
Tevita Kolinasi Taunga Puaka and Katalina Mite
Kolinasi Vailea Ahau and Pisila Tafokitau
Taulakau and Finau Pangai Son of the Vaea of Houma
Vaea Vunivalu Iutungailangivaka Vaea of Houma
Vaea Muni and Toki-Lupe Vaha’i Vaea of Houma
Muni Mataele Tu;apiko Vaea and Finau Foukihala’unga Ve’ehala (King)
Mataeletuapiko and Tokilupe (King)
Atamatalia Tuihaangana and Mata’ila (King)
Ngata Fekai 1st Tui Kanokupolu (King of the Tui Kanokupolu dynasty)
Moungatonga Tui Haa Takalaua (King of Tonga) and Limapo Tohui’a Ama (Of Samoa) Daughter of Ama the Chief of Upolu, Samoa.
Vakalahimohe’uli Tui Ha’atakalaua V (King) and Vaetoe-i-faga Kau-ulufonua Fekai
And the family tree continues through the generations of Kings.
Sosaia Ahau truly was a man with Royal blood running through his veins. In fact Soane, Soaia Ahau’s brother told me in 2006 that his brother Sosaia Ahau should have received the title Vaea of Houma, (Baron of Houma) however two generations back their had been a family feud and whilst I do not have the full story, the title was passed on to a younger sibling and not the eldest and therefore the title then went down the wrong line.
This was clearly a bitter story and Soane Ahau was quite angry about the situation. He told me that his brother Sosaia Ahau was the true Vaea of Houma and that now his brother had passed, he was the Baron of Houma. He was very proud of this.
I understood where Soane was coming from and had the title been passed on in the way it should, Soane would indeed have been the Vaea of Houma.
I’ll now turn to the Lavaka Family and talk about Maele Lavaka the woman who married Sosaia Ahau in the village of Houma, Tongatapu back in 1958.
Maele Lavaka (my daughter’s great great grandmother was born on the 24th April 1933. She was the daughter of Matannga Faafe Lavaka and Eseta Lilo Otuafi. (pictured below)
Maele Lavaka was one of 11 children. Her father Faafe Lavaka was well known in the village of Houma for working hard to send his children to school and give them the opportunity to gain an education.
Faafe Lavaka valued education and the stories I have heard about his sacrifice and his life mission to provide opportunities for his children make me proud.
I know he would be proud of his great great granddaughter Sylvia who is trying really hard at school to learn all she can and make her ancestors proud. Below is a photo of Sylvia as a baby with her great uncle Semesi Lavaka, the youngest child of Faafe and Maele.
Sometimes we take things for granted. Many of the Ahau and Lavaka descendents live around the world, in New Zealand, America, Hawaii, and beyond. Sylvia is here in the UK. Each year their is a family reunion in America and I’d love to take my daughter to that reunion one year.
The one thing I love about family history and about learning about ancestors is finding inspirational stories. The stories passed down teach us important lessons and two important values taught by my daughter’s ancestors were the value of education, the value of family and the value of living your beliefs and sharing what you believe.
Sylvia has some amazing ancestors and I look forward to teaching her stories to help her better understand her Tongan roots as she grows.
Saia Ahau says
Hello! I am so glad to have come across this blog you posted. It is so heartwarming to learn about you and your family’s ties for Tonga and especially for Houma. I absolutely love your post as well, being that I am one of the grandsons of Soane ‘Ahau—and interestingly enough, I am named after Siosaia ‘Ahau who raised my father back in Houma. ‘Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu, famili!
Lovely to here from you. So your Father and Sylvia’s Grandmother Folola will be first cousins. 🙂 I remember going to your grandfather’s Soane’s house in Houma. He was quite old and there were young boys in the garden…I wonder if one of them was you? Nice to meet you. Where about’s in the world do you live now? We have moved back to New Zealand.
Saia Ahau says
Hello, again! Sorry it has been so long since I have replied. We live in the U.S. my father immigrated here for college where he met my mom. We went to Tonga back in ‘09 for our first time as kids. I went back in 2019 right before covid hit and got to more thoroughly enjoy being in Houma and have been itching to go back.