Tonga, the Pacific island nation dubbed “the Friendly Isles” by Captain James Cook, now has an Anglican bishop.

A congregation of 300 witnessed the consecration of the Rt. Rev. ‘Afa Vaka. He will lead a newly constituted episcopal unit in the Diocese of Polynesia.

Anglican mission work began in Tonga in 1902 under an English bishop, the Rt. Rev Alfred Willis.

Anglicans represent a small proportion of Christians in a nation comprising 169 islands and a population of just over 100,000. The Wesleyan Methodist Church is the established state church of Tonga, although both Roman Catholics and Mormons outnumber Methodists.

John Martin