The Tongan castaways were a group of six boys between 13 and 16 (Luke Veikoso, Fatai Latu, Sione Fataua, Tevita Siola'a, Kolo Fekitoa, and Mano Totau), who, in 1965, ran away from a school on the island of Tonga, stole a boat, and became shipwrecked on the deserted remote island of ʻAta.
The boys formed a strong bond and, despite deprivations and injuries, kept themselves fit and healthy for 15 months. They survived primarily through consumption of local birds, fish, wild taro, and chickens and bananas that had been raised and cultivated on the island 100 years prior. They captured rainwater using hollowed out logs, though it was sparse during the initial months of their survival. They drank blood from seabirds when they did not have enough water.
They were discovered in 1966 by Australian fisherman Peter Warner, in good health and spirits under the circumstances, and returned with him to Tonga, where they were immediately imprisoned for the theft of the boat. The boys were released from prison after Warner compensated the owner of the stolen boat, and arranged for them to participate in a film for Australian media.
In 2015 Spanish explorer Alvaro Cerezo spent 10 days on ʻAta island with Kolo Fekitoa, one of the castaways. They lived there alone and survived on coconuts, fish and seabirds, exactly as the boys did back in 1965. In summer 2020, Cerezo launched a documentary of his experience with Kolo and a book describing in detail the 15 month ordeal of the castaways. A trailer for the documentary was published on Youtube.
In 2020, historian Rutger Bregman wrote about the castaways' civilized experiences in his book Humankind: A Hopeful History, as a rebuttal example to the fictional story, The Lord of the Flies, where a group of castaway boys on a deserted island descended into savagery. In addition, the film studio, New Regency acquired the film rights for the boys' experience for a possible feature film.
- Lyons, Kate (2020-05-13). "The 'real Lord of the Flies': a survivor's story of shipwreck and salvation". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
- Bregman, Rutger (2020). Humankind: A Hopeful History. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0316418539.
- Cerezo, Alvaro (2020-04-10). "The Six Tongan Survivors. The Teenager Castaway Boys. THE DOCUMENTARY". Youtube. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
- Cerezo, Alvaro (2020-05-09). "The Tongan Castaways of Ata Island. Surviving with one of the six boys. TRAILER". Youtube. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
- Bregman, Rutger (2020-05-09). "The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
- Westfall, Sandra Sobieraj; Herbst, Diane (6 June 2020). "Inside the Lord of the Flies Survival of 6 Tongan Boys 54 Years Ago: 'The Story We Need Now'". People.com. Retrieved 10 May 2021.