Kin Groups and Descent. Divided into various ha'a, traditional Tongan society had a patrilineal descent system, yet matrilineal lines were also taken into consideration for decisions involving chiefs. Tongan society was—and continues to be—an extremely rank-conscious society, with rank being based on age or birth order, gender, and kinship affiliation. There was a great deal of mobility in traditional Tongan Society, and the rank of an individual on any given occasion was relative to the other individuals present at that occasion.
Kinship Terminology. Kinship terminology was extended to collateral relatives, though to a lesser degree than in the Hawaiian system.