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Stepping-up in Tonga

Australia's relationship with Tonga is strong, reflecting our longstanding development, security and people-to-people links. Our partnership has deepened under our Pacific Step-up.


The Hon Alex Hawke MP, then Assistant Minister for Defence and Minister for International Development and the Pacific and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Tupouto'a at the handover of the first of two new Guardian Class Patrol Boats, delivered to Tonga under Australia's Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP). Photo: Defence.

Australia has a significant Tongan community, with over 32,000 people living in Australia identifying as having Tongan ancestry.

Fifty years of partnership

In 2020, Australia and Tonga celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations, illustrating the strength and endurance of our relationship.

Australia and Tonga have a broad relationship that includes security cooperation, people-to-people links and economic and human development.


Their Late Majesties King Taufa'ahau and Queen Halaevalu Mata'aho with first resident Australian High Commissioner to Tonga Her Excellency Maris King at the opening ceremony of the Australian Funded Fire Service Headquarters in Nuku'alofa, 16 July 1982. Photo: Isi Fonua and Jørdâň Langi

More about Tonga.

Supporting Tonga's sustainable growth

Australia’s development assistance supports a shared vision of a prosperous and stable Tonga, committed to shaping a strong COVID-19 recovery and building resilience in the face of natural disasters. Australian support for health systems, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), economic growth, skills development and labour mobility all contribute to COVID-19 recovery.

More about Australia's development assistance program in Tonga.

A safe and stable Tonga

Australia is committed to supporting Tonga's security, including through the Defence Cooperation Program, the Pacific Maritime Security Program, and the Tonga Police Development Program.


Australian Defence Attache South Pacific Lt Col Matthew Quinn helping to unload Australian relief supplies following Cyclone Gita in February 2018. Photo: DFAT.

More about shared security in the Pacific.

Linking Australian employers and Tongan workers

Labour mobility is a key driver of growth and will make an important contribution to economic recovery from COVID-19. We are working closely with the Tongan Government to enable an efficient, safe and economical resumption of circular labour mobility.


Former Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, Adrian Morrison, meeting with a Tongan participant of the Seasonal Workers Program in Mundubbera, Queensland. Photo: DFAT.

Deepening people-to-people links

Australia continues to deepen social, educational and cultural links with Tonga through a range of new initiatives including Australia Awards Scholarships, the Australian Volunteer Program, and the PacificAus Sports Program.


Australian volunteer Raina Stella Reyes (far left) working together with her colleagues at Ma'a Fafine Mo e Famili Inc. to provide early intervention services for children with disabilities. Photo: DFAT

More about Australian volunteers in Tonga.

More about Australian Awards in Tonga.

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