This September saw the 3rd Regatta Festival in Vava’u, a funfilled week of yacht races, kids’ activities, handicrafts, prizes and the best Full Moon Party in the South Pacific. Held from 7 – 13 September, the event was originally initiated by locals and ex-patriots from around the world, through a celebration of sailing, Tongan culture and, of course, Vava’u’s spectacular natural scenery.

A highlight of the Festival was the Kid’s Day, with face painting, games and dancing. With access cut to the main street, groups of children performed traditional Tongan dances to a packed and cheering crowd. This year’s Festival coincided with the Rubgy World Cup kick-off game between the Ikale Tahi and the All Blacks. The streets of Neiafu were filled with floats, brass bands and excited fans screaming for their beloved national team.  The atmosphere throughout Neiafu was electric all evening with everyone excited about the game and proud of the Ikale Tahi’s strong performance against such a formidable opponent.

Saturday night saw plenty of drizzle and grey clouds but that didn’t diminish the fun at the Full Moon Party. Held on a secluded beach and watched over by the masts of yachts and sailboats, revelers didn’t mind dancing in the rain. The event was well organised with a DJ, barbeque, bar, Tongan dancing and all amenities. This year’s theme was “Future and Past”. Partygoers dressed in tropical flowers, tapa skirts, aluminum foil and flashing lights enjoyed the unique event. By 11 pm the clouds had passed revealing a spectacular starry Tongan sky.

Other popular events included the pub crawl, Chathams Pacific Prize Party, fun tournaments and plenty of opportunity to meet other people. The Festival grows larger every year and is set to become a huge feature in Tonga’s event calendar and one of the Kingdom’s foremost attractions.