An institute for critical education in the South Pacific

A ʻAtenisi picture

Relaxing after class



For the 40th year, ʻAtenisi Institute continues to offer tertiary courses in social science, natural science, humanities, and the arts … culminating in a B.A. or postgraduate degree received ad eundem at the University of Auckland.

Among the institute's distinguished alumni are Drs Robin Havea (sr lecturer mathematics, Univ. of the South Pacific/Fiji), Siosifa Ika (analyst, human services dept., Western Australia), and ʻOpeti Taliai (former university dean, ʻAtenisi).

40th Anniversary Message from the Director

directorForty years ago my father launched a university here at ʻAtenisi. He believed that students should be taught how – not what – to think.

He would have been dismayed by the current drift towards commercial and technical instruction at universities throughout the world.

He believed the pillars of classical education – philosophy, mathematics, history, literature, and music – remain the most effective facilitators of critical analysis.

Mere skill, he argued – whether commercial or technical – dooms the expert to focusing on trees whilst the forest burns. Indeed, from global recessions to nuclear power plants, we have seen economists and engineers watch helplessly as the results of their one-dimensional knowledge collapse before their eyes.

To prospective under- or postgraduates … to Tonga’s working people … to visiting consultants and scholars from overseas, we say talitali lelei: take advantage of ʻAtenisi’s B.A. and postgraduate programmes, 3000-volume library, Tongan dance and language instruction, vocal and instrumental coaching, and free evening lectures.

At age 40, ʻAtenisi remains wise and innovative. There’s simply nothing in the Pacific like it.

director's hand

Institute director

ʻAtenisi registration


An affiliate of the Macmillan Brown centre
for Pacific studies

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Last update: 19 September 2016. Read more in… Zakea lecture

May 2016 – Audience savours piano renditions of Josef Haydn, Claude Debussy, and Erik Satie

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Last update: 19 September 2016. Read more in… Merz recital

Apr. 2016 – Noted Anthropologist Describes Lure and Risk of Overseas Rugby Career

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Last update: 19 September 2016. Read more in… rugby realism

Sept. 2015 – Finance Minister Endorses Critical Thinking at 40th Anniversary Celebration


Last update: 19 September 2016. Read more in… graduation 2015


Let ʻAtenisi Guide You Towards An Overseas Ph.D.

Tevita Manuʻatu
N.I.U. (2105–2017)
Salis Faivaʻilo
Wroclaw (2015–2017)
ʻOkusitino Tae
Ryukyus (2015–2016)

In spring 2015, two ʻAtenisi graduates – on the strength of their B.A. degrees – commenced postgraduate study at Northern Illinois University outside of Chicago and the University of Wroclaw in southwestern Poland. A third continued undergraduate study at the University of the Ryukyus on Okinawa, Japan. Using the network established by our late founder, Dr ʻI. Futa Helu, ‘Atenisi negotiated a salaried research assistantship for Tevita Manuʻatu at N.I.U., a fellowship for ʻOkusitino Tae at Ryukyus, and a scholarship for Salise Faivaʻilo at Wroclaw.


Just before departing Tevita told Taimi ʻo Tonga: “I’ll always feel an obligation to ʻAtenisi. I owe what I now know to its commitment to critical analysis.”

So if you are aiming high, let ʻAtenisi guide your academic career. Current Form 6 or 7 students – and/or their families – are urged to promptly contact the dean at 26763 or e-mail dean@atenisi.edu.to regarding enrolment in February 2017.