In response to a request from His Majesty King George Tupou V the original residence of the Tongan Royal family was tripled in size to accommodate the Government departments supporting the Monarch once he handed over governance to democratically elected ministers in November 2010.
The palace building was a two-storey kauri villa, prefabricated in NZ and shipped to Nuku’alofa in 1864. Although it had undergone various additions and alterations during the 150 years of service the Throne Room, Privy Council meeting room, His Majesty’s Study, central staircase, tower room and various bedrooms were retained intact with new self-contained office wings constructed either side.
The two, symmetrical wings house the Privy Council, Lord Chamberlain, Government Archives, Security and Palace Office functions, forming a courtyard between where His Majesty can still receive his people in traditional ceremonies.
Samples of the windows and doors and decorative elements on the verandahs were all shipped to NZ, stripped of many layers of paint and replicated on the extensions.
Corner towers were added to emulate the original central tower but set at a lower, equal level, symbolising the handing over and sharing of power with the people.