10 things you need to know about the Tongan election

While rugby league and the prospect of a Tongan team taking the World Cup is currently gripping Tongans around the world, in the Kingdom there is an election to be won today.  

Massey University Pasifika Director Associate Professor Malakai Kolamatangi will be an observer at the election and says this is what you need to know ahead of the vote.

 * The election is a year early after King George Tupou the sixth dismissed the country's scandal-ridden Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva and dissolved parliament in August and called for a fresh election.

* The Government was dissolved on the advice of the Speaker of the House Lord Tu'ivakano and the Tongan Privy Council. It follows a series of Government controversies including the dismissal of three cabinet ministers including one convicted of bribery, the creation of a golf course at the Popua wetland and heritage area, a decision to part privatise the National Broadcaster and the decision to pull out of hosting the Pacific Games.…more


EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE - Tonga Leiti's Association

An ad campaign to create awareness of the need for law reform so that people with diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities are not discriminated against in the Kingdom of Tonga.



How significant if it to have two Pacific women in cabinet?

Extremely. At any given time we have only ever had one Pacific cabinet minister at the most and up until now we have had no Pacific women in cabinet - and now we have two!

How strong is Pacific representation going to look in parliament this term?

Better than ever before. Four out of Labours 21 Ministers will be Pacific (five will be Maori). Two are inside cabinet and two are outside. We have never had that many Pacific MPs in Ministerial positions. Labour also has two other wonderfully talented MPs who will undoubtedly have their talents put to good use - Poto Williams and Anahila Suisuki. There are still select committee chair positions and whips positions to be decided so one or both of them could end up in these important positions. Representation is crucial but more importantly now our focus has to be on how we most effectively serve our communities.more


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


MAILELANI - Organic Samoan Skincare taking over!

Mailelani – Organic Samoan Skincare taking over!

By now we’re all aware of the endless benefits received from the coconut, so it’s no surprise that one of Samoa’s leading skincare and natural beauty companies, has put Samoa on the map using organic coconut oil magic. Mailelani, meaning ‘a gift from heaven’, was established in 2005 by Kitiona and Sylvie Salanoa.

Using organic suau’u popo (coconut oil) in their products, sourcing local ingredients and employing local villagers, Mailelani is providing not only work opportunities, but also superior natural skincare with those unmistakable island fragrances.

“What makes Mailelani unique is that it’s the peoples business; it’s not just us. We have people who make the coconut oil, koko samoa and sell esi, so everything we do and put in, is made by the people, Mailelani just makes the finished product. That’s why I always say without the people, Mailelani wouldn’t exist.” – Kitiona Salanoa.

The first product created was a handmade scentless soap, which eventually developed into a range with seven various fragrances.…more



The video “I’m a Proud Pacific Islander” is one of two videos created by the Pacific UN Free & Equal campaign for equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

It features the faces and voices of LGBTI people and their allies from across the Pacific, calling for everyone to take a stand for LGBTI equality.


Tautai: Sāmoa, World History, and the Life of Ta’isi O. F. Nelson

‘We are what we remember, the self is a trick of memory . . . history is the remembered tightrope that stretches across the abyss of all that we have forgotten’

Maualaivao Albert Wendt

‘Ta’isi O.F.Nelson, Political Campaigner & Statesman’

Credit: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-66440. Photographer, H.J. Schmidt, article from The Museum of Sāmoa.  Photos courtesy of Tony Brunt via the Museum of Samoa

Ta’isi Olaf Frederick Nelson (24 February 1883 - 28 February 1944) was a successful businessman, scholar, and the leader of the Mau movement in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Despite a firm position against violent protest of any kind Ta’isi was banished for two long stints, spending more than seven and a half years of forced residency in New Zealand without the right of return to attend to family or business matters.  He was absent from Samoa during the shootings in Apia on ‘Black Saturday’ 28 December, 1929.…more


Miss Galaxy 2017 LIVE Stream

Night 1 - " The Beauty of Oneness " Miss Galaxy Pageant 2017 Program at Queen Salote Memorial Hall, Kingdom Of Tonga 12th July 2017


Coco Talanoa Media Panel Discussion July'17

Coco Talanoa - Media Panel, join Johnson Raela (Journalist, Tagata Pasifika) and the panel, Adrian Stevanon (Associate Producer, The Hui), Henry 'Jandals' Tuipe'a (Radio personality), Susana Guttenbeil (Jounalist and Communications Manager) and Yolande Ah Chong (Television personality and Media Liaison for Pacific Media Network) discussing issues of the day.

Today's discussion centres around Pacific representation in Aotearoa media and out there in the World.