Apifo'ou College

'Apifo'ou College
'Apifo'ou, Hala Fātima, Ma'ufanga, Tonga
Coordinates21°08′38″S 175°10′41″W / 21.1439°S 175.1780°W / -21.1439; -175.1780
MottoAdveniat Regnum Tuum
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s)St Peter Chanel
FounderJean-Amand Lamaze S.M.
OversightDiocese of Tonga and Niue
PrincipalFr. 'Ekuasi Manu S.M.
Enrollment1400 students (in 2019)
LanguageTongan & English
Color(s)Sky-blue & white
NicknameLalo Kāsia

‘Apifo’ou College (Tongan: Kolisi ‘Apifo’ou) is a co-educational secondary school located at Ma’ufanga on the island of Tongatapu in the Kingdom of Tonga. It is the largest and oldest Catholic secondary school in Tonga. It is owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tonga and Niue, and is run by priests of the Society of Mary.


‘Apifo’ou College traces its foundation to 1865 when French Marist priest, Fr Jean-Amand Lamaze, founded an all-boys secondary school named St Stanislaus College at ‘Ahopanilolo, Ma’ufanga with a syllabus that included reading, writing, geography, history, arithmetic, astronomy, geometry and religious education.[1] With a view to expanding the school, in 1881 St Stanislaus College was moved to a ‘new property’ (Tongan: ‘Api Fo’ou) nearby to continue as a day school with newly arrived Fr Armand Olier as the first Principal at the new site. On August 15, 1886 the college officially became a boarding school but with its name changed to Peter Chanel College.[2] In an effort to raise the academic standard, Bishop John Rodgers established St John's High School at Makamaka in 1962 so as to allow boys to follow the NZ syllabus before relocating it to ‘Api Fo’ou in 1964. The Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary then set up St Ann's High School at Makamaka in 1964 as an all-girls school under the NZ syllabus before it, too, along with newly established St Cecilia at 'Ahopanilolo (since January 1965) were both relocated to ‘Api Fo’ou on September 8, 1965 to form St Mary's High School. In marking the centenary of 'Api Fo'ou as a boarding school in 1986, Bishop Patelisio Punou-Ki-Hihifo Finau decided to amalgamate the all-boys St John's High School and all-girls St Mary's High School in 1987 into a single co-educational school named 'Apifo'ou College. This was followed in 2011 with the celebration of the school's 125-year anniversary, hence counting once again from the first boarding school at ‘Api Fo’ou in 1886.[3] In 2020, the school celebrated its 155th anniversary, thereby recognizing the college established in 1865 by Fr Lamaze as its foundation.[4]

Cyclone Gita

Severe tropical Cyclone Gita struck Tonga in February 2018. Of the secondary schools on the island of Tongatapu that were damaged by the cyclone, none sustained heavier damage than ‘Apifo’ou College. Rebuilding of the damaged classrooms was completed at the end of 2020 thanks to funding from the World Bank and the Australian government.[5]


‘Apifo’ou College has a long history of being a source of clergy for the local Catholic Diocese of Tonga and Niue and elsewhere. The current bishop, Soane Patita Paini Cardinal Mafi, is a past student of the school, as were two of his predecessors, Patelisio Punou-Ki-Hihifo Finau and Soane Lilo Foliaki.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "First Catholic School in Tonga". Kaniva Tonga | Largest NZ-based Tongan news service. Retrieved 2021-07-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Tonga Sector - Oceania Marist Province Suva Fiji". www.maristoceania.org. Retrieved 2021-07-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "'Apifo'ou to celebrate 125th anniversary over Christmas". Matangitonga. 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2021-07-14.
  4. ^ "The school was originally founded in 1865 where the Catholic Church is at Ma'ufanga today". CathNews NZ Pacific. Retrieved 2021-07-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Commissioning of the new and repaired classrooms for 'Apifo'ou College, Tongatapu - Tonga". ReliefWeb. Retrieved 2021-07-13.
  6. ^ "Secondary School, 1973-1979, St John's High School, Tonga" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "Patelesio and Sir Sofele Kakala Hall, 'Apifo'ou, Ma'ufanga | Pacific Islands Report". www.pireport.org. Retrieved 2021-07-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Prime Minister of Tonga | Secondary Education at 'Apifo'ou College, Ma'ufanga 1956-1957". 2010-04-11. Retrieved 2021-07-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Plus, Alliance Health (2020-06-09). "Congratulations Lita Foliaki and all recipients of Queen's Birthday Honours Awards". alliance-health-plus. Retrieved 2021-09-28.
  10. ^ "Pacific Women in Politics". 2017-11-07. Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  11. ^ "US Rugby Legend Ponders HOF, Tries Record - FloRugby". www.florugby.com. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  12. ^ "Na'a ne ako 'i he Kolisi 'Apifo'ou pea ne hoko ai ko e matapule lahi 'o e 'apiako | Kaniva Tonga News Website". Facebook.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "'Fight for your life': Highlander's battle to the top". Otago Daily Times Online News. 2018-09-06. Retrieved 2021-07-15.

External links

  • Official website
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