Sights of Pangai
On Holopeka Road at the south end of town is the King's Palace, with many fine old trees bordering the compound. The king visits Lifuka every September for the agricultural fair, which is held in the field across the street. The Women's Island Development Handicraft Center (weekdays 0900-1500), beyond the fairgrounds, displays local craft items.
Just north of the palace and inland a block on Faifekau Road is the Free Wesleyan Church, where a miraculous cross appeared in 1975. The spot is now outlined in cement on the grass outside the church. Palasi Road, the next street north runs right across the island to the long, lonely beach of high golden sands extending down the east side of Lifuka, only a 10-minute walk from town. Unfortunately, the locals have adversely affected the beauty of this beach by mining it for sand.
Just north of Pangai is the grave and monument of Wesleyan missionary Reverend Shirley Baker (1836-1903), an adviser to King George Tupou I, who helped frame the Emancipation Edict of 1862 and the 1875 constitution.
In 1880, Baker resigned his ministry and governed Tonga in the name of the elderly king. To increase his power he persuaded King George to break with Wesleyan headquarters in Australia and establish the independent Free Wesleyan Church. Baker's persecution of Tongan Wesleyans still loyal to the Australian church and his dictatorial rule prompted the British High Commissioner in Fiji to send a warship to collect him in 1890. Baker was later allowed to retire to Ha'apai and his children erected this monument after his death.
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