Saturday, 17 September 2016

NIUAFO'OU - KINGDOM OF TONGA

Niuafoʿounorthernmost island of Tonga, in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Niuatoputapu, or Niuas, group of islands. The generally wooded land area of 19 square miles (49 square km) includes a volcanic peak 935 feet (285 metres) high, several lakes—including a large crater lake (Vai Lahi, containing several islands, one of which contains a crater lake of its own)—and numerous hot springs. During a particularly violent eruption in 1946, the island’s inhabitants, numbering some 1,200, were evacuated to ʿEua Island, several hundred miles to the south. They began returning to Niuafoʿou in 1958. Because of an unusual method of receiving its mail in cans dropped from passing ships, Niuafoʿou gained the nickname Tin Can Island.
The island is located in the southern Pacific Ocean between Fiji and Samoa, 574 km north of Tongatapu island group and 337 kilometers northwest of Vavaʻu. It is still an active volcano.
Other names for the island are Good Hope island and Tin Can island. The latter name originated from the fact that, since the island has neither a natural harbor nor a wharf, mail was delivered and picked up by strong swimmers who would retrieve packages, "sealed up in a biscuit tin" and thrown overboard from passing ships. Established in the nineteenth century, Tin Can Mail was developed by a trader named Walter George Quensell, who festooned the mail with many colourful cachets that have become a collectors' item. The Tongan government took over this tradition with special Niuafoʻou stamps since 1983.




These beautiful covers came with Niuafo'ou postmarks. The mail service to the island is once in a month and it is rare too. In the Island there is no dedicated Tonga Post service, a counted can be found to book the parcels and EMS letters. The covers can get postamarked on request. Tonga issues beautiful stamps in the name of Niuafo'ou. The covers posted on August 29, 2016 and I received in my hands on September 19, 2016. Thank You Kava for the big help to send back as registered.

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