An historian says the Tongan government needs to change its approach to development if it is to safeguard the country's heritage.
Wendy Pond has studied Tonga since the 1960s and has researched the journals of explorer James Cook.
Dr Pond has supported and signed a 1000-plus signature petition that has been presented to parliament to stop the residential development of land around Popua.
She says the area is linked to the ancient Tu'i Tonga royal dynasty, traditional pigeon hunting grounds and visits by Captain Cook.
Dr Pond says the area is well-known but sadly the government seems to have other priorities than protecting it.
"Ministers in modern governments, in Tonga as in New Zealand, are not historians. In our capitilist society they are driven very much by an agenda of depending on progress to maintain prosperity so they were not backward looking."