The year was 1773; Captain Cook, the esteemed explorer of yore, stepped ashore the fabled Tongan island of Lifuka. So enamoured was he with the locals and their exuberant entertainments, copious feasting and general revelry - the like of which he'd ne’er seen before back in Blighty - that he graciously bestowed on them the title ‘Friendly Islanders’.
Somewhat ironic - for his hosts were actually planning to chop him into bite-sized portions and serve him up as pre-dinner canapés. Luckily for Cook, the scheme foundered when they couldn't agree on the finer details, such as whether Englishmen go well with ketchup, or whether they're best served as a small-plates sharing concept.
Nevertheless, the term ‘Friendly Islanders’ has stuck forevermore. And indeed, it's been gratuitously appropriated by the most unlikely local services (like Friendly Islander Vasectomies - ‘we snip with a smile..’) But despite their panache for canny marketing slogans, underneath lies an irrefutable generosity, something I increasingly discovered during my med-student placement on these fair isles.