‘Akilisi Pōhiva

ʻAkilisi Pōhiva is the founder of the Human Rights and Democracy Movement, which was the first group to advocate political reform in Tonga. He later went on to found the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands. In 2013 he won the Parliamentarians for Global Action’s Defender of Democracy Award. Pōhiva became the first “common” citizen elected as Prime Minister of Tonga in 2014 and has continued his pursuit of democratic reforms for the nation’s political system.

Illustration by Johnny Selman

Tonga

Tongan art displays many of the characteristics associated with art of Oceania. Pre-contact Tongans produced elegant works of sculpture, mat weaving, fiber work and bark cloth which commonly feature repeated geometric patterns and stylized figures. Tongans are highly skilled in wood carving and use the technique to build canoes and manufacture war clubs and spears. These items are highly treasured and often featured inlays of pearl-shell and ivory. Pōhiva’s portrait has been block printed to channel both textile printing and sculptural traditions of the Tongan people.

Total Area
748 km2 (186th)

Demonym
Tongan

Government
Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Population
106,462 (196th)

Capital
Nuku’alofa

GDP (PPP)
$7,344 per capita