Coco News

Virtual Tour of 'The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu' Unveiled by Bishop Museum

Earlier this week the Bishop Museum announced the launch of an immersive virtual tour displaying their exhibition ‘The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu.’ 

The exhibition explores the meanings of four large stones that were historically placed on Waikīki Beach in honour of four māhū - individuals of dual male and female spirit - who brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii. 

Although the stones, renderings of which took residence at the Bishop Museum two years ago, have survived for centuries, the story of their significance has long been suppressed and the respected role of māhū erased. 

In an effort to document and memorialise gender and sexual diversity across Hawaii the Bishop Museum alongside Lei Pau Ala Queer Histories of Hawaii are proud to offer the virtual tour which enables all to experience The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu from the comfort of home. 

The immersive experience enables viewers to virtually walk through the exhibition in its entirety. 

Encounter life sized renderings of the stones, absorb the written knowledge and stories and observe captivating film on the virtual tour of The Healer Stone…more

Coco News

Chief Human Rights Commissioner says this is the perfect time to get RSE scheme right

Saunoamaali'i Dr Karanina Sumeo, Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner, sees the current proposal to increase Pacific workers in New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme as a pivotal opportunity to rectify longstanding issues.

In response to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon's push to expand the RSE workforce, Commissioner Sumeo emphasized that addressing past shortcomings is essential. She pointed to a comprehensive inquiry conducted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in 2022, which uncovered significant concerns about the treatment of Pacific workers. Issues such as substandard accommodation and unfair pay deductions were highlighted, prompting calls for urgent reforms.

In an interview on Pacific Mornings Commissioner Sumeo expressed "This moment presents a crucial chance for New Zealand to implement the recommendations from the inquiry,"

"By doing so, we can not only improve the RSE Scheme but also ensure that the dignity and rights of Pacific workers are upheld."

She noted that Samoa has been particularly vocal in advocating for reforms on international platforms, underscoring the global scrutiny on New Zealand's human rights record in this area.…more

Coco News

How One Pasifika Entrepreneur is Revolutionizing Supermarket Shelves

In a market where products from Pasifika and Maori communities often aren't as visible in big stores, Pasifika-owned business 'Drink Da Milgy' is breaking new ground. Landing a deal with Woolworths (Countdown), making them one of the first Pasifika-owned beverage companies to be sold in a major supermarket. 

Founded by a visionary entrepreneur of Niuean and Tongan heritage, this Pasifika venture is reshaping the dairy industry with a mission to amplify representation and inclusion.

"At the beginning of 2023, I noticed a stark absence of Pasifika and Maori products in supermarkets," shares the founder, Saion Angi. "I realized I needed to be the one to create that change."

The journey commenced with a strategic focus on the milk market, a fiercely competitive domain. "I chose milk because it's a highly competitive space," the founder explains.…more

Coco News

Arthur Anae On The Legacy and Impact of New Zealand's Samoan Citizenship Bill

Samoans were elated with the news that their controversial citizenship history might take a new turn, with the Restoring Citizenship Removed by Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 Bill that passed its first reading in NZ Parliament in April 2024. 

This bill, championed by Green Party MP Teanau Tuiono, aims to provide a pathway to citizenship for Samoans born between 1924 and 1949, the period of NZ’s colonial rule of Samoa.

In a landmark case that successfully fought for this citizenship, a Samoan woman Falema'i Lesā was working as a kitchen hand in Wellington when she was threatened with deportation. She took her case for citizenship to court and in 1982, after a five year battle, a Privy Council ruling found her a citizen of New Zealand.

The Privy Council ruled that all Western Samoans born between 1924 and 1948 were British subjects and that in 1949 they and their descendants had become New Zealand citizens.…more

Coco News

Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi's Lalava Brings New Life to Kongakava Hotel's Historic Fale Tonga

"For me it was good and challenging to add new life to the fale and add colour to bringing the old fale to life and it still old technique and traditions and colour of the ropes give us the change of our time and relationship of the traditional fale to the modern and western fale." - Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi

Paul Johansson, of The Kongakava Hotel was thrilled and honoured that renowned Tongan artist and sculptor, Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi, agreed to do the Lalava that graces the main entrance to the Kongakava Hotel.

The lalava (traditional lashing) by Sopolemalama completes the reconstruction of the 100 year old faletonga to its former glory, bringing the old traditions into a contemporary setting for the entrance to the Hotel.

The art of lalava is a ancient traditional Tongan art form and Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi would like to see this art revived and used in contemporary settings in the Kingdom of Tonga.…more

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