The Kingdom of Tonga is a system of Polynesian islands located in the South Pacific, east of Australia and north of New Zealand. Although it once received British protected state status, the Kingdom of Tonga has always maintained its sovereignty and in 2010, it started the path to becoming a constitutional monarchy.
Located in Oceania, the archipelago is made up of 169 islands, 36 of which are habitable. The largest island, Tongatapu, holds the capital city, Nuku’alofa.
While certainly off the beaten path, the Kingdom of Tonga has all the modern amenities one could expect from the South East tropics.
The Kingdom of Tonga is a documentarian’s dream location. Ha’atafu Beach on the island of Tongatapu and the smaller islands of Eua and Foa are among the countless scenic tropical settings. Off the Vava’u Islands, there are opportunities to film alongside migrating humpback whale packs. Humpback whales come to Tonga for mating and giving birth, so there is a unique opportunity to encounter a mother whale and her calf.
Along with the natural wonders found in the Kingdom of Tonga, there are countless one-of-a-kind archaeological sites. The Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon is the South Pacific’s very own Stonehenge. The Mu’a region is home to the areas wealthiest concentration of archaeological remains, dating back to 1200 AD.
FILM PERMITS & PERMISSIONS:
With enough lead time, permits are easy to arrange through our local partners.
FILM TALENT, CREWS & EQUIPMENT:
Visiting film crews are advised to bring equipment. Pioneer Media can help with locating rental and crew options out of Australia or New Zealand.
FILM COST, TAX INCENTIVES & CO-PRODUCTION OPPORTUNITIES:
There are no film tax incentives in the Kingdom of Tonga at this time.
ACCOMMODATION & TRANSPORTATION FOR FILMMAKERS
The Kingdom of Tonga offers various modes of transportation from private cars for hire, rental, taxis and public buses on land and private boat rentals, as well as water shuttles. Air travel between major cities is also an affordable option. Depending on the location of your shoot, the travel conditions vary and may require additional travel time to navigate.
Basic lodging is inexpensive, but a four star hotels can be $250/night with lower prices available depending on location and ranking. Most hotels will offer discounts to groups or crews booking an extended stay. Rooms outside of the tourist areas tend to be even less expensive. For extended stays, AIRBNB rentals are a cost-effective choice, with inexpensive, high-quality options and friendly hosts.
Individual meals at an expensive dinner in expat areas can cost around $23. A single three course meal at a mid-range restaurant costs around $13. Catering for films can be arranged 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
VISAS & TRAVEL ADVISORY FOR FILMMAKERS:
Work visas are not required for visiting film crews in the Kingdom of Tonga. Passport holders from the EU, Israel, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein stay for up to 90 days within a 180 day period on a tourist visa, while China can stay for 30 and UAE for 60. Many other countries, including the US, Canada, and Russia, can apply for 30 day business visas with possibility of extension of their trip arrival. Click here for more information on the Kingdom of Tonga’s visa policy.
The Kingdom of Tonga is currently listed as a “Level 1: Exercise Normal Precaution” on the US State Department’s 1 to 4 travel advisory ranking (4 being “Do Not Travel). The vast majority of the Kingdom of Tonga is very safe for foreign filmmakers and standard vigilance is enough to deter any problems with petty crime.