Tongan youth engaging in 'at-risk' behaviour is an increasing concern for Tongan communities in New Zealand who sometimes choose to invert the Tonga–New Zealand migration process by sending their children to live with extended family members in Tonga. The assumption is that these young people need to find their identity through immersion in anga fakatonga (Tonga ways of behaving). Narrative methodology was employed in the research informing this article to collect, understand and present the experiences of seven New Zealand-born youths who were sent to live in Tonga for various lengths of stay. It is argued that certain macro-narratives, such as 'youth-at-risk', influence the construction of their personal narratives and largely contravene Tongan cultural narratives. Although the youths faced many challenges acculturating into life in Tonga, the 'ofa (kindness) with which their families received them, and their valuable learning experiences in formal, non-formal and informal settings resulted in them living according to anga fakatonga.

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