The Heilala Festival in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, for 2018 will run from June 25 to July 6.
This is an annual event celebrating the King’s birthday through various shows and events. One of the highlights being the Miss Heilala beauty pageant, where by contestants from various places come together to showcase the tradition and unique culture of Tonga through talent, beauty and knowledge.
The Festival is named after Tonga’s national flower, the Heilala, which is the highest in the hierarchy of the Tongan flowers. The Heilala plant is very difficult to propagate and has to be closely nurtured to survive.
The Heilala Festival was first organised in 1980 by the Tonga Visitors Bureau (Ministry of Tourism) to celebrate the birthday of His Late Majesty’s King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV. It has since then become the highlight of the year for Tonga.
For 2018 a tentative program was recently released by the Ministry of Tourism and the festival will start with a “Best Chef” competition. This competition will be followed by a “Tonga’s Got Talent” and a “Best Bartender” competition on June 26.
The Miss Junior Tau’olunga and Foorshow competition is set for Thursday, June 28, and a Tongan Masani Block Party takes place in the CBD on Friday, June 29. Various sports tournaments will take place on Saturday, June 30.
The highlight of the festival, the Miss Heilala Pageant, starts on Friday, June 29, with an orientation program at the Tanoa Dateline Hotel and will be followed by a cultural singing competition in the evening at the Atele Indoor Stadium. The first judging for the pageant is planned for July 2, the Miss Heilala Tau’olunga competition on July 3, Heilala Float on July 4, and the Miss Heilala Pacific Evening on July 5. The pageant concludes with the Miss Heilala Ball and prize giving on Friday, July 6. All of these events will take place at the Atele Indoor Stadium.
You can follow the event through the festival’s facebook page.