Story collated and written by Haitelenisia Afemui ‘Uhila Angilau for her 'Ordinary Tongan Lives' facebook page

“I wasn’t born this way. My physical appearance now is a result of using chemicals without proper safety gears. I was a hired laborer doing farm work and spraying weed chemicals for people’s crops. At about 2006 or so, the effects of the chemicals took a toll on me. It ate my skin and my hands and fingers became crooked. I became blind. I can make out the silhouette but not a face or image.

I was hospitalized for 3 years in the isolation unit and was told I have leprosy. I had to wear a mask covering my mouth and nose all the time. Pusiaki, Dr ‘Ake, told the workers to take it easy as I needed to breathe too. I had to keep away from people. I was lonely. I wondered what my 6 children would eat. I was the provider. My wife left too. We’re back together now. But I cried and complained a bit.…more


AISEA LATU : "Brutal Lives - Mo'ui Faingata'a"





Malo e lelei my name is ‘Aisea Latu, 28 years of age and I am full Tongan. My parents hail from Pukotala, Ha’apai and Fatai, Tongatapu in Tonga and I grew up in Mt Wellington, Auckland. I now reside in Mangere. I am a performing artist but did work as a health promoter with young people from 2014 till about Jan this year. I still do the odd gig or two when I get itchy feet but besides that, I’m happiest being a Dad.

What inspired you to get into acting and film?

I grew up in church with White Sunday plays, choir, action songs and cultural dances. I was usually a quiet and shy kid but if you got me on a stage or in front of an audience, I completely switched. Although I didn’t really have an interest in performing until after High School, thanks to my Dad.…more


Tupu Tai Pasifika Public Policy Internship

The Tupu Tai Pasifika Public Policy Internship is an opportunity for students and recent graduates of Pacific descent to gain real world experience and experience the incredible opportunities on offer within the Government/Public sector.

The decisions that the Government makes impact everyone in Aotearoa and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment want to ensure that there is a strong Pacific voice contributing to this decision making.  The Pacific Pathways Programme provides an opportunity to support this goal.

If you are looking for a meaningful paid internship over the summer break (November to February) and are keen to access incredible training and development, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment would love to hear from you.

DON'T MISS OUT!  Applications close Sunday 12th July 2020 at midnight.

Apply now:


Hear from some of the Tupu Tai Pacific Sector summer internship Alumni in the videos below:

Tupu Tai public sector summer internship - Why is it important?

Tupu Tai public sector summer internship - What was your learning moment?

Describe your Tupu Tai journey in 3 words


When you bring two cultures together - ZIMBABWEAN / TONGAN WEDDING

A Zimongan fusion! 

Sasha (Tongan) and Melford (Zimbabwean) share their Happily Ever After, held at The Lincoln Events Centre, Christchurch NZ.

Guests flooded in from all over the world, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Dubai, Tonga, America and Australia just to celebrate their special day with them.

Two very different but yet similar cultures coming together to celebrate two huge Families becoming One.


BRUTAL LIVES - MO'UI FAINGATA'A with Director Vela Manusaute

We talk to Director Vela Manusaute about "Brutal Lives - Mo'ui Faingata'a" a new Tongan language drama series coming to the CoconetTV in August.  

What is Brutal Lives - Mo'ui Faingata'a about?
Brutal Lives - Mo'ui Faingata'a is a new pacific (Tongan) bilingual drama set in South Auckland about a fallen boxing champion who returns home after twenty years when his father dies.   He must face his three children that he left behind, especially his daughter, Lupe.  At the same time, an ancient Tongan spirit warrior seeks revenge for the sins of the Valu family actions over five hundred years ago.  

How did you come across the story and what made you want to make it?
The story and the idea is drawn from our own experiences and cultures—for me, it's my love of Pacific boxing and Pacific stories.  Sandra (Producer) was inspired by stories from her village, Kolonga in Tonga and a desire to see more Tongan stories on screen and in the Tongan language.…more


Putting the microscope on Pacific workers’ scheme media coverage

A study of the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme has raised questions of how Pacific workers are portrayed in New Zealand regional media.

Dr Angie Enoka’s PhD in Media Studies examined media coverage of the New Zealand government’s RSE scheme, a policy which allows the horticulture and viticulture industries to recruit workers from overseas for seasonal work.

The RSE scheme began in 2007 with a cap of 5,000 workers from five eligible Pacific nations, and despite fluctuations in local unemployment, has grown every year since. Today, that annual number as almost tripled to a current cap of 14,400 workers from nine Pacific nations.

 Dr Enoka studied newspaper coverage of the scheme during its first five years while Pacific RSE workers were living in regional communities.…more


Health disparities in Samoa drove me to become a doctor

Twenty-eight-year-old Mosana Evagelia grew up in Samoa and recalls her experience volunteering in the hospitals that peaked her interest in a career in medicine.

“I would have been16-years-old at the time and I volunteered in our local hospital during the holidays. I remember realising that most of the doctors working there weren’t even Samoan, they were American or Filipino. I would usually have to translate between the doctors and patients.”

Evagelia says she witnessed a lot of health disparities in children and when her younger sister got sick with rheumatic fever which progressed as rheumatic heart disease she knew a career in medicine would allow her to work and improve health care for Pacific people.  Before coming to New Zealand, Evagelia completed a degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the Chaminade University of Honolulu. However, given the expense of education in the USA she decided to further her study and pursue her dream in New Zealand.

In 2019, Evagelia was a recipient of the Pasifika Medical Association’s Papali’i Dr Semisi Ma’ia’i University of Otago Scholarship.…more


First Samoan fa’afafine at Massey University to receive a PhD in Media Studies

On June 24, Angie Enoka will become the first Samoan fa’afafine to graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy in Media Studies at Massey University. Ms Enoka hopes that her academic success will encourage other fa’afafine to look at education as a career option and hopes more Pacific people take on postgraduate studies.

“When you grow up in the Islands, there's such limited opportunity with lots of competition because it's your only window to the world. When you’ve finally made it, it's a never-ending world of learning and you feel that it's never enough,” she says of her lengthy academic journey.

Ms Enoka, whose research focused on the portrayal of Pacific Island seasonal workers by the New Zealand media, will be among a few that will be ratified as a PhD ‘In Council’ at a meeting of the Massey University Council.…more


Over 73,000 Pacific People supported throughout COVID19 crisis

As the country moves to Alert Level One the Pasifika Medical Association through Pasifika Futures - the Whānau Ora commissioning agency for Pacific families, reflects on the colossal effort from Covid 19 Support Partners who tirelessly worked throughout all the Alert levels to serve our most vulnerable Pacific families.

The impact of this work: 17,755 Covid Support Packages delivered across the country, from Kaitaia to Invercargill, to 13,300 Pacific families, made up of 73,156 individuals. Eighty percent of those receiving support needed the help as they were no longer able to meet their family’s basic needs and 54% experienced a loss of family income.

Debbie Sorensen, the Chief Executive for PMA and Pasifika Futures says the 42 centers and partners across the country that distributed the packages to families, should be applauded for their quick response.

“It’s a testament to the connections our partners have to their communities. We made sure our partners had resources within two days prior to the lockdown to help and distribute to families in need.” she says.…more


PMA Scholar: Caring for grandmother, the inspiration for nursing career

As a 13-year-old, Simione Tagicakibau helped care for his fragile and ill grandmother in his homeland of Fiji. Now at 35, that experience as a teenager continues to inspire Simione in his nursing career and fuels his passion to care for the Pasifika community.

“During my experience with my grandmother, I saw how the nurses did their jobs and had a passion for caring for others. This is why I pursued nursing and had the motivation to work in health.”

A recipient of a Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) medical scholarship, Simione initially studied nursing in Fiji and worked as a nurse in his home country and the Cook Islands. He moved to New Zealand in 2015 and settled in Christchurch for better opportunities.

“New Zealand provided me with greener pastures and has allowed me to further develop my nursing knowledge and skills.”

Simione had been working in the Pacific Islands for five years.…more