Ha'amonga 'a Maui (trilithon), Tongatapu, Tonga

Ha'amonga 'a Maui (trilithon), Tongatapu, Tonga

April 2016 Issue

Ha'amonga 'a Maui (trilithon), Tongatapu, Tonga



No one is exactly sure why the stone trilithon pictured in our February 2016 mystery photo was built, but one story says it’s likely that the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui (Burden of Maui) was a gateway to the king’s royal compound. It stands near the village of Niuto¯ua on the island of Tongatapu in the Polynesian kingdom of Tonga. Another theory says the trilithon was built to symbolize the brotherhood of the king’s two sons.

The structure, comprising coral limestone pillars and a crosspiece of beachrock (naturally cemented carbonate beach sand), was built early in the 13th century, during the reign of the Tu’i Tonga kingdom’s 11th king, Tui’ita¯tui. It stands about 17 feet tall and is 19 feet across and about 4½ feet wide.

Twenty-three correct answers were received, and MARY CHRISTIAN of Naples, Florida, won the drawing. We thank Phil and Dorothy Morris of Honolulu, Hawaii, for submitting the photo.

Correct answers were submitted by the following:

Peter Aiau, Seattle, WA; Bill Ashley, Washington, D.C.; Russell Benton, Due West, SC; Chuck Bingley, Richmond, VA; WINNER: Mary Christian, Naples, FL; Michael Dixon, Washington, D.C.; Don Eager, Hayward, CA; John Fleckles, Kaneohe, HI; John Haseman, Grand Junction, CO; Signe Haugen, San Carlos, CA; Jane & Clyde Holt, Hinesburg, VT; Chet Imes, Ottawa Hills, OH; Karyn Kandell, Kyoto, Japan; Eileen Leach, Hickory, NC; Mel McBeth, Concord, CA; Bennetta McLaughlin, Berkeley, CA; Wendy Ostgaard, Lyons, CO; Donna Peterson, Patch Grove, WI; Raymond Prince, Maple Valley, WA; Sigrid B. Southworth, Honolulu, HI; Richard Stout, Sun City, AZ; Jill Sullivan, Waynesboro, VA; Subhadra Suresh, Wyoming, OH.