Historically, parliament was opened on 16 September 1875. It was to discuss the newly written constitution for the country which seemed to have been ideated and modelled after the earlier Fakataha of the Council of Chiefs. Its main task was to advise the king when needed. Therefore, the Fakataha met irregularly and it had nominal powers, if at all. It is also believed the idea of a Tongan parliament was not necessary for political considerations such as members of parliament (representatives of the chiefs and people) rather it was a regular meeting as an embodiment of the unity of the whole country. The creation of parliament, together with the constitution, was important in order to safeguard Tonga's sovereignty. In this and in other matters, due credit must be given to Charles St Julian who was a law reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and Hawaiian Consul in Sydney, Australia. He, among other things, sent a copy of the Hawaiian Constitution of 1852 to King George Tupou I: its provisions, layout, text and so forth which paved the way for the formulation of the new Tongan Constitution.
The composition of an original parliament comprised of government (the premier, the treasurer, minister for lands and minister for police); nine nobles from Tongatapu, five from Ha'apai, four from Vava'u, one noble from Niuatoputapu and Niuafo'ou respectively - all were appointed by the king for life; and twenty elected people representatives. They were elected by sufferage for a five year term. The Speaker was appointed by the king.
Parliament had the power to legislate, impeach, determine the amount of taxes, duties and licences; pass estimates of government expenditure; and discuss ammendments to the constitution except in areas where it did not have jurisdiction such as matters to do with succession to the throne. It also had some judicial responsibilities such as the right to determine the number of police courts and the frequency of its sitting.
One of the basic functions of modern parliaments is to ensure that societal interests and aspirations are integrated into its processes and considerations. This is done mainly through the idea and process of representation. Representation is one of the cornerstones of all parliamentary democracies. Put simply, representation is the aggregation of the electorate's interests which is represented by its election of a representative to speak and act on its behalf in particular against, and in collaboration with, other representatives of other electorates.
It is most likely the case that this kind of relationship between modern societies and their parliaments in 1875 did not exist in Tonga. Although the population was quite small at around 20,000, by modern standards other factors made it difficult for people to understand or contribute to the creation of the constitution and parliament.