Call to Ensure Transgender Recognition

Tonga’s Leiti’s Association calls for recognition of transgender people

The Vice President of Tonga Leiti’s Association has called for a clear definition of gender equality to ensure that everyone, including transgender people, are included and taken into consideration in decision-making.

Joey Mataele, who was born male but lives as a woman, was in Suva as part of the 13 Triennial Conference of Pacific Women where a platform for gender equality was approved and passed by Pacific Ministers for Women for endorsement.

“When you talk about gender equality , you are talking about the overall population not just women and men, people living with HIV, people living with disability, transgender women, transgender men, that do exist in this world,” Mataele said.

She said one of the challenges that they faced in Tonga was the limitation of being recognised for who they are.

“We are known to be the decorators, we are known to be the chefs, we are known to be the hard- labour people but when it comes to decision making, we are nowhere to be seen,” Mataele said.…more


Violence and Bullying Against Pacific Minorities

Discrimination against sexual minorities limits chances for economic development. 

Horrific experiences of violence and bullying are preventing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of the Pacific from achieving their potential and making more of a contribution to society.

A group of courageous young LGBT people shared their stories with women attending the 13th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women in Suva this week. Gillio Baxter, 29, from Vanuatu was born male but feels deeply that she was supposed to be female. She told how she was bullied at school because she allowed her feminine side to show.

“In my days of High School, I was bullied, faced harassment and violence every day,” Baxter said. She said at one incident, she was attacked by 45 students with the presence of a school teacher but nothing was done to stop the assault.

“That was April 18, 2005, I was in year 12 or form 6. That same year, I quit school only because going to school was a torture for me,” Baxter said.…more

Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS: Nicole Whippy, Actress


Tell us a little bit about yourself... 

I was born in Suva where we lived with my grandmother for the first couple of years of my life until we moved to Botany Downs in East Auckland, NZ. I spent my schooling years in Halfmoon Bay where we were probably the only Fijian family in the neighbourhood although there were a few other Pasifika families with kids who we became good friends with. It was fun. Lots of war games on Pigeon Mountain, dancing to New Edition and eating too many Van Camp chocolates because our friends Dad worked at the Factory.

I always knew I wanted to be an actor. I took part in every speech, poetry and book reading competition at school because I loved talking. Probably a little too much if you asked my teachers but it's all helped me later in life. I starred in every school play from playing Delilah in "Samson and Delilah" the biblical musical at Primary School to Olivia in  "Twelfth Night " at Macleans College.…more


Mate Ma'a Tonga - National Rugby League Press Conference

Konrad Hurrell, Sika Manu, Coach Kristian Woolf, Captain William Hopoate & Jason Taumalolo at the National Rugby League Press Conference. 


Fiji vs Tonga Rugby Highlights in Nuku'alofa

 Fiji defeated Tonga in Nuku’alofa 2017 to qualify for the RWC 2019.



The Kingdom of Tonga have never been short on world class athletes - they've competed on the international stage in Boxing, the NFL, Rugby League, AFL, Rugby Union, Taekwondo, netball and now a small group of young swimmers are making waves internationally.

This year alone, they've competed in the Apolima Strait swim (Upolu to Savai'i) in Samoa in April where they not only won but were the youngest team!  The Fiji Long Course Nationals in June, the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas, one of their senior swimmers Andrew Emberson competed at the FINA World Championships in Budapest and 4 of the swimmers have just recently returned from the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan!  

And they're not done!  They've also got their sights set on the Fiji Short Course nationals at the end of this month, the Victorian age championships in Melbourne, Australia in December and the Anthony Mosse classic in NZ at the beginning of 2018.…more

Humans of the Islands


Isadora Blake 

Body Artist 



Bula everyone, my name's Isadora Blake and I'm a makeup artist living and working in New Zealand. I was born and raised in Fiji, come from Fijian and a mix of European heritage. My father is from Udu Kabara in Lau, and my Mother is from Levuka she's of European Fijian heritage.

I have 5 brothers and 12 sisters. 7 of the siblings including myself live in New Zealand, 2 in Australia and the rest live in Fiji. 

My maiden name is Bulatiko. I married Benjamin Blake in 2010 whom I met in Fiji late 2005 and moved to New Zealand in 2008. We have a 4-year-old girl.

When/How did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in Body Art?

In 2010 I studied makeup artistry at The Makeup School (TMS) in Auckland and graduated with a diploma in Professional Makeup. It wasn't until a couple of years later I realised I wanted to do something more than just beauty makeup application.…more

Humans of the Islands


24 year old Tongan, Niuafe Malupo owns & runs the Niu Cakery in New Lynn.

Find out how he got started! 


Top 10 Moves of Tama Tonga

Wrestlers all have their signature moves and Tama Tonga is no exception.

Check out his top 10 moves he brings to the wrestling ring at New Japan Pro Wrestling including the Stinger Splash, Dropkick & Whiplash .....

Guest Writer


Auckland filmmaker Juliette Veber began her just-launched website documentary project Conversations with Teen Mums with the aim of challenging the stereotypes of young mums. 

The project began in 2013, when Veber noticed a New York City advertising campaign shaming teen mums. It included slogans like, ‘Because of you mommy, I’m less likely to get a college degree’.

Veber recalls, ‘I found it offensive. I wondered what it would be like to be a pregnant teen or a young mum reading a campaign filled with negative stereotypes and lacking in any kind of hope or encouragement’.

Over four years Veber documented the lives of 16 young mums, sharing their stories, perspectives and experiences in photos, text and film on the website.

‘I looked for subjects who aimed to get off the benefit and into work. Young mums with hopes and dreams, who wanted to offer their children opportunities and choices in life.’

‘The project is not about glamorising teen pregnancy.…more