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The man who helped build Tonga eight acres at a time

Festival Coordinator
南京夜网

While many locals and visitors will be celebrating the wonderful food, society, and culture of Tonga during this year’s Festival of International Understanding, spare a thought for Larry Wordsworth, who helped build the Pacific nation, eight acres at a time!

Larry – now a retired surveyor – spent two years in the island kingdom in the late 1950s; helping train local Tongans how to survey their land for a vital national program.

At that time, every Tongan man on reaching the age of 16 was entitled to 8 acres (about three hectares) of land to which he would agree to grow 200 coconut trees over a period of two years!

Larry, and his colleague Bruce Alexander, supervised a large team who travelled across the beautiful tropical country implementing the scheme.

“We were warmly welcomed by the locals as it ensured that land would be secured.

“Thirty two chiefs, who held the majority in parliament, had previously controlled the program and it could be said, perhaps, picked and chose who they gave the land to,” Larry explained.

During this time, the two men took many photographs which they published in a fascinating book, “One hundred fathoms square” (‘one hundred fathoms square’ was the measurement for 8 acres in Tonga).

Larry now lives in Young and is looking forward to the start of the Festival next week and will be making a personal appearance; his book will be for sale at the Festival of International Understanding Carnival on Saturday March 12, at 1pm.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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