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Song for the King -- Vika and Linda Bull interview

Video clip synopsis – Vika and Linda Bull talk about the importance of their heritage and connection to Tonga.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 2min 51sec
Tags - change and continuity, democracy, diversity, globalisation, monarchy, technological change, technology and society, Tonga, see all tags


Song for the King -- Vika and Linda Bull interview

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About the Video Clip


This interview with Vika and Linda Bull was recorded for the Pacific Stories website produced in 2005. Vika and Linda Bull are Melbourne-based singing siblings and are two of Australia’s most popular performers. Their mother is Tongan and father Australian. Linda and Vika explore the rich diversity of their Tongan cultural heritage through their songs and creative life.

Pacific Stories is a co-production between Film Australia’s National Interest Program and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Presented by Vika and Linda Bull, the project explores the geography, history and culture of the South Pacific.

Curriculum Focus


This Digital Resource can be used to achieve the following Outcomes:

H1 explains the interaction between persons, societies, cultures and environments across time
H3 accounts for cultural diversity and commonality within societies and cultures
H4 evaluates continuity and change and assesses social futures and strategies for change and the implications for societies and cultures
H5 evaluates the influence of power, authority, gender and technology on decision making and participation in society
H8 selects, organises and evaluates information and sources for usefulness, validity and bias

Students examine the impact of continuity and change upon the lives of people in the micro and macro worlds and consider whether westernisation and modernisation are inevitable.

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information


The independent Kingdom of Tonga is the only monarchy among the Pacific nations.

King Taufa’ahau Tupou 1V, inherited the throne from his mother Queen Salote Tupou 111 in 1965. King Taufa’ahau Tupou was much revered by his subjects and under his rule people enjoyed stability and prosperity. Despite his popularity, there was, during the latter part of his reign, some questioning of this system of government, where power and privilege are inherited. A pro-democracy movement argued that as Tonga modernised and changed, so too should the form of government include more participation in decision-making by all of its citizens.

Modernisation and change in Tonga has also included Tongans migrating in large numbers seeking work and better wages. The number of Tongans living outside Tonga (particularly in Australia and New Zealand) is now larger than the population at home – 110,000 Tongans are spread across three dozen inhabited islands and even more live abroad, mainly in the US, New Zealand and Australia. The main source of national revenue in Tonga today is in the remittances sent home by Tongans residing overseas. To what extent this continues in the future will depend on the younger generation many of whom now have stronger cultural influences from their adopted countries. These people with Tongan heritage may not be treated as ‘true Tongans’ when they visit Tonga — due to language inadequacies or cultural differences.

This video clip features popular singers Linda and Vika Bull. Their mother was one of the first Tongans to travel to Australia. Initially she moved to study nursing with the aim of returning to Tonga; however she married and remained in Australia. Linda and Vika, tell how in 1994 they were invited to perform for King Taufa’ahau Tupou 1V’s 75th birthday celebrations. They speak about identity, language and music and the importance to them of their heritage and connection to Tonga.

King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV died on 10 September 2006. His 41-year reign made him one of the world’s longest-serving sovereigns. He was succeeded by his eldest son King George Tupou V.

Classroom Activities


One of the questions the interviewer in the video clip asks about is whether there is a sense that culture is starting to change for Tongans.

Linda Bull responds and says; ‘There’s so many young people leaving Tonga and I think it has to change the culture because of those that have all left’. She says unlike the past – many now want to go back to help improve their country. When they return it is likely that they will take with them new ideas and attitudes. Linda alludes to this when she speaks of the Tongan political system and says:

‘When the balance of power is held in one person’s hands I think it’s always a recipe for disaster. It seems to have worked quite well in Tonga because of its old system. But I think with people leaving and getting education, a new perspective, and [seeing] what things are like in other countries, it’s bound to happen. They come back and, ‘Hey I want to have a say too.’

  1. Consider the ways in which Tongan culture could change as a result of the importation of new ideas and ways of thinking due to the experiences of Tongans in other countries.
    Be prepared to share your analysis with your classmates
  2. Consider to what extent you agree with the proposition that; ‘Westernisation, modernisation and industrialisation are inevitable for Tonga’.
    Be prepared to share your viewpoint with your classmates
  3. Evaluate the value of such interviews as the one in the video clip to create a greater understanding of the impact of continuity and change upon the lives of people in the micro and macro worlds.
    Include reference in your response to Linda and Vika Bull as well as to Tonga.
  4. Comment on changes in Tonga since the death of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV and the ascension to the throne of his eldest son King George Tupou V.

Further Resources


Go to Pacific Stories Learning for Interactive Compass Map with facts about the Pacific region.

For interview transcripts, books and references for this Digital Resource go to Pacific Stories, choose Fit for a King, select INDEX, and go to MORE INFORMATION.