Newington College’s enduring partnership with Tonga’s Tupou College

| September 20, 2018

Newington students perform a traditional Tongan song at the inaugural Pacific Connect Forum in NSW Parliament House on the 6th of September 2018.

Newington College has enjoyed a long and close relationship with Tonga, that first began in the mid-1800s, when Newington’s first Headmaster, Rev Dr James Egan Moulton, departed Australia and was appointed by King Tupou I as the founding Headmaster of Tupou College from 1866 to 1888. He lived in Tonga for over 41 years as a missionary and a Church leader.

As a result, Newington, Tupou College and Tonga have developed very close links. Our shared Church foundations and vision for education are closely aligned. We have been working closely with Tupou College to help raise their educational standards.

This year, we have two of our teachers seconded to Tupou to help train teachers and develop resources. Every year a group of boys and teachers visit Tupou College and Tonga.

Newington has historically hosted many Tongan students since 1896, with the most famous Tongan Old Boy being King Tupou IV who attended from 1933 to 1936. In more recent times, Newington has awarded 23 Tongan Bursaries since 2009.

The boys are interviewed at Tupou College, Tonga and are offered three-year bursaries including school fees and boarding fees for Years 10 to 12. In 2018, we have eight Tongan boys boarding at Newington College.

Our selection criteria for applicants is based on the applicant having:
• career aspirations that will potentially make sound contributions to Tonga;
• good academic ability and potential for further improvement;
• strong leadership and character qualities;
• an excellent attitude towards making a contribution to the College.

We do have a further six local Tongan boys at the College.

The program has been highly successful. Many have been academically capable and have finished within or near the top 20% of the NSW HSC cohort. Others have gained apprenticeships.

The purpose of our Tongan Bursary Program is to provide well-educated leaders to return to Tonga following graduation at Newington College. However, we are hitting brick walls due to costs for our Tongan boys to pursue university or vocational tertiary options.

There are only a very limited number of Australian Government scholarships for the Australian tertiary options. The other option is for the boys to attend the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. Again, the costs are high given the average income of a Tongan family. As a result, we have been seeking sponsors for our tertiary bound Tongan boys.

We believe we can significantly aid Tonga by providing an avenue for talented young Tongans to be well educated to serve their nation. Newington can handle the secondary school element, but seek financial assistance for the tertiary element.

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David Mulford

Dr David Mulford has been the Headmaster of Newington College Sydney since 2009. Previously he was Principal of Radford College Canberra ACT and Blue Mountains Grammar School NSW.