Ancient philosophy, opera and Tongan culture come together in this intimate portrait of a teacher, his school and his people as they navigate a sea of repression and doubt in a small but troubled Pacific island kingdom.
'Atenisi Institute is a place where Polynesian and European culture are creatively entwined. It is a Tongan school of European philosophy, music, art, democracy and science where criticism is the heart of Futa Helu's bold intellectual vision. Tongan Ark is a meditation on society, nature and the search for permanence in an otherwise chaotic and changing world. We follow Futa's family and students as they immerse themselves in his passions and principles. He taught them Italian opera, classical music and the Tongan traditions of song, poetry and dance. Performing arts tours to the United States, Australia, New Zealand and within Tonga funded his poor but brave school through hard times. But the odds are increasingly stacked against Futa and his supporters - the school buildings are crumbling and Futa, the charismatic leader is forced to retire by illness and old age. Riots for democracy have gripped the small nation and cultural and economic globalisation is causing turmoil. Two of ...Written by