Coco News

From South Auckland to IVY League: The young Samoan man from South Auckland heading to Brown University in the USA.

From Fairburn Primary School, to De La Salle College, and now he takes on the IVY League College of Brown University. Raised in South Auckland, against a backdrop of love and support, this determined young man has forged a path that led him to what some may say the pinnacle of academic excellence: The Ivy League’s. 

Hailing from the villages of Siumu and Leauva'a in Samoa, Charm Tuala has gone from strength to strength academically. As a young man his parents have always emphasized the importance of education. 

“They always put an emphasis on education and taught me that sports was just a privilege…So I’m really grateful for them always keeping me in check with my grades.”

Tuala’s parent’s teaching did not fall on deaf ears. Tuala states that while his parents emphasized the importance of education for him, so did he. He too valued achieving academically himself.

 “I didn’t feel the need for my parents to always keep that pressure on me, because they instilled it in me, so I had high expectations of myself too.…more

Coco News

Government to assist with New Zealanders & Pacific Island nationals departures from Tel Aviv

The New Zealand Government is partnering with Etihad Airways to facilitate the departure of New Zealanders and other eligible passengers from Pacific countries out of Tel Aviv, following the outbreak of armed conflict in Israel and Gaza, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced.

At least four groups of Pacific Islanders have been in Israel since late September, many of them there for a christian pilgrimage participating in Jerusalem's Feast of Tabernacles celebration.

Fiji Airways had flown to Tel Aviv for the first time nearly 3 weeks ago carrying a large group, as the Pacific Islands nation seeks to build closer ties with Israel after Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka pledged to open an embassy there next year.

Last Thursday Fiji Airways managed to repatriate 243 passengers back to Fiji with almost 200 Fijians, 8 Samoans and citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US onboard.  

However, for a group of Tongans from New Zealand and a group from the Cook Islands, it has been much more difficult to get out with many commercial airlines cancelling flights.…more

Coco News

Election 2023: What can Pasifika expect from the new National government?

By Mariner Fagaiava 

Labour’s red wave crashed over Aotearoa in 2020 and in 2023, the tide washed out. National and ACT are certain to form a coalition government, but they may need New Zealand First on current numbers. What’s in it for Pacific peoples? Broadcaster and commentator Mariner Fagaiava analyses the election result.


Air New Zealand boss turned National leader Christopher Luxon will be flying high this morning. He’s in the pilot seat and will become New Zealand’s 42nd prime minister.

Conceding victory to Luxon was Chris Hipkins who shed tears as he spoke to Labour Party faithful in Wellington last night.

13 more years of political experience wasn’t enough to fight the country’s mood for change, which Hipkins perhaps knew all along. He credited his loss to a “perfect storm” of Covid, scandal amongst his own MPs and of course, the cost of living.

  After farewelling party veterans Aupito William Sio and Poto Williams in August, Labour is set to lose more Pacific names: Anahila Kanongata’a, Anae Neru Leavasa, Terisa Ngobi and Dan Rosewarne.…more

Coco News

Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Award Winners announced

The winners of the 2023 Creative New Zealand’s prestigious Arts Pasifika Awards have just been announced and the majority of awards have been taken out by female Pacific artists, with two winners in the Senior Pacific Artist category.

The Arts Pasifika awards are the only national awards for Pasifika artists across all artforms and the vibrant annual event celebrates Pacific creative excellence in Aotearoa and globally.

Caren Rangi, Chair of the Arts Council, says the Arts Pasifika Awards play a significant role in celebrating Pacific creativity in Aotearoa.

“I’m particularly proud of the fact that many of our winning artists this year are also passionate advocates for the Pacific community,” says Caren.

“Their influence transcends beyond the creative sector – they're not only making outstanding work but also using their platforms to give back. Many of them are educators, Lavinia is also a youth worker and Falepipi He Malofa’s creative work began as an opportunity for members of the senior Niuean community to come together.…more

Coco News

Maui family recounts experience evacuating their home

Fitu and Una Taukeiaho have lived on Maui for over 20 years and join ABC News to recall their experience evacuating Lahaina and returning to visit their destroyed home.

At time of writing (15th Aug), the death toll of the Maui wildfires have reached 99 with Hawaii Governor Josh Green telling local media the death toll is likely to increase “very significantly” and could double over the next 10 days. This makes the Maui wildfires the deadliest in the United States in over 100 years.

As the number of casualties continues to increase, authorities are confronting inquiries regarding their readiness for an event of this magnitude and their response to the situation:

  • Despite the rapid expansion of the lethal fires into residential areas, the world's largest siren system remained inactive. Communication with residents in times of emergency was predominantly reliant on mobile phones and broadcasting, a period during which most power and cellular services were already disrupted.…more

Coco News

9 incredible Pasifika Wāhine make the Y25 this year

There are nine Pasifika wāhine in the 2023 Y25 (25 young wāhine and irarere under 25 yrs who are fighting for better systems, communities, and worlds).

The Y25 celebrates 25 wāhine & irarere aged 25 years or younger, who are leaders in their fields. Developed by the YWCA (the Y), the nation-wide search and nomination process produces a rich list of community leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, poets, environmentalists, activists and changemakers working well above their years and peers. 
In its fourth year, the Y25 programme highlights trailblazers from all over Aotearoa, and brings them together to connect with each other, and have access to support and networking opportunities from YWCA Tāmaki Makaurau.


Allyssa Verner Pula (22)

Researcher, Podcast Host & MVPFAFF+ Champion
Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland
When you come across a blog called ‘Mayor of Manurewa’ you know the person behind it is going to be a community-minded person. That’s Allyssa.…more

Coco News

Pacific media can be leading the digital content revolution.

Auckland came alive today with some active talanoa from all our Pacific media sectors, with the first cross sector Pacific media fono in 10 years.

Recognising the stalwarts of the past and looking to the digital opportunities of the future framed much of the talanoa, which brought together Pacific Media Network, RNZ Pacific, Tikilounge Productions, Sunpix, amidst a range of broadcasters from across the sectors.

How do we build on the PIJF journalism fund and how we build capacity and sustainability for all the young Pasifika media people coming through were key issues, alongside exploring the finding pathways for content that are now available via NZ on Air.

Much was made of the importance of story sovereignty and being able to serve our big diverse Pasifika audiences in a variety of ways.…more

Coco News

Sacred symbols cement the New Zealand Deputy Prime Ministers Samoan identity

“It’s the only tatau I have ever wanted - I’ve never had any other tattoos because I’ve wanted the malu first. I’ve waited my whole life for this, and for the right time for this.” - New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

They are over 60% of the Pacific population in Aotearoa, it’s the second most commonly spoken language in Auckland and Samoan's have one of the fastest growing youth populations in the country.

Now our Samoan leader at the highest level of government, has committed to a personal and public dedication of her fa'asamoa, her cultural identity.

Carmel Sepuloni now wears Samoa on her skin, as well as in her heart.…more

Coco News

2023 Pacific Music Awards finalists announced - meet the first time finalists.

On the 28th of June, the 2023 Pacific Music Awards finalists were announced at Big Fan in Morningside, Auckland.

Among the 24 finalists, 11 are first time finalists alongside 13 previous award winners.  This year, MELODOWNZ, Olivia Foa'i and Sam V lead the nomination count with 4 nominations each in various award categories.  

Alongside the 13 award categories, there will be eight additional awards presented on the night including the Phillip Fuemana Most Promising Pacific Artist, NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award, NZ On Air Streaming Award, SunPix People’s Choice Award – Best Pacific Artist, Creative New Zealand Award, Arch Angel Independent Artist Award, Ministry for Pacific Peoples Special Recognition Award, and Manukau Institute of Technology Te Pukenga Lifetime Achievement Award.

The winner of the Best Pacific Music Album category is presented with an official Tui and will be recognised at the next Aotearoa Music Awards.  The APRA Best Pacific Song Award recipient will also be recognised at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards.…more

Coco News

Iam Tongi performs at Homecoming concert at Turtle Bay Resort

It's been a whirl wind week for American Idol contestant Iam Tongi.  

On Sunday evening (US time), Iam made the Final 3 in this season of American Idol, he travelled back to Hawai'i where he grew up and received an honourary diploma and a special haka from his former high school on the North Shore - Kahuku High School - then was given a homecoming parade the next day with a homecoming concert at Turtle Bay Resort.

Watc Iam's perforrmances of popular Tongan song 'Efiafi, peau ongo'i vale' by Sione Niupalavu Tatu, Spawn Breezies 'Don't Let Go', Jack Johnson's 'Pancakes' and then a special rendition of his break out Idol performance 'Monsters' by James Blunt in the video above.…more