Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - THOR KATOA

THOR LOPINI KATOA 

ENTREPRENEUR & BUSINESS OWNER 

TONGAN 

.

My name is Thor Katoa. I was born in Guam, but was raised in St.George, Utah. I come from a large family, with 8 brothers and 1 sister. I am full Tongan and am currently on track to earn my Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Communications from Oregon State University. In addition to being enrolled at OSU, my father and I have started our own business.

Can you tell us about the business you own and why it's unique?  

Yes, my father and I are business owners of a CBD (Cannibidiol) company, Polynesian CBD, which is based in the U.S. (Oregon). Polynesian CBD focuses on Hemp derived products. However, the difference between us and other CBD companies, is that we’ve chosen a more unique path by adding an “island twist” to our product line (Island “smells” & tastes: ex. Coconut, pineapple, mango etc.)

We're also doing some product development with Kava at the moment too.more


Events

KEEPIN IT FRESH - FIFO FILM FESTIVAL TAHITI

Highlights from FIFO 2019 film festival in Tahiti.
Pacific film makers across Oceania show their work at the FIFO Film Festival - Check out some of the amazing new docos you can check out here on the CoconetTV and some that are coming out soon.


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - JOHANNA SETEFANO

JOHANNA SETEFANO 

HEAD GIRL OF ST CUTHBERTS COLLEGE 

SAMOAN 

Talofa lava! My name is Johanna Iutita Talitha Setefano meaning “Gracious Gift of the Lord” and I am the eldest daughter of Rev. Dr Imoa and Amelia Setefano. I was born right here in Aotearoa New Zealand and spent a large amount of my childhood moving back and forth from Malua Theological College in Samoa. My dad is from the villages of Fasito’o Tai, Vaivase Tai and Palauli and my mum is from the villages of Afega and Vailele in Samoa. I come from a strong Christian family with 3 brothers and 1 sister that are devoted to God and a current member of Papatoetoe Congregational Christian Church of Samoa.

I am currently a Year 13 student and also humbling enough the Head Girl of St Cuthberts College for 2019. It’s such a privilege to be able to attend the top secondary school in NZ all thanks to my parents and my Year 7 teacher, Mr Theunisen (Mr T)  who shared a vision that I attend the best school available.…more


Guest Writer

'NOT SAMOAN ENOUGH' - A REALIZATION

By Tovia Va'aelua 

Celebrating Samoan Language Week 2019 I New Zealand 

Most people who have chosen not to identify with their heritage may often refer back to an incident involving rejection by that people or culture. Like the time when they tried to speak the language of their ancestors in public, only to fail miserably and swearing never to return. Or, the time when Violet (the supermarket checkout lady) found out you were "Samoan" and after a one-way conversation in Samoan (of which you could offer nothing except a blank stare and an awkward smile), she would then complete her Mortal Kombat fatality combo by saying (with an added tone of disappointment) "you should know how to speak your language". Pure, unadulterated, unbridled rejection. And yet, both situations which conjure up these feelings of not belonging (even today), also confirmed that you were very much of Samoan heritage as you seriously considered opening up your carton of eggs and letting them loose on Violet’s forehead.…more


Humans of the Islands

WOMEN OF THE ISLANDS - FAUMUI PENELOPE GINNEN

FAUMUI PENELOPE GINNEN  

DISTRICT COURT JUDGE 

SAMOAN 

.

What does your recent appointment of District Court Judge mean for you?

I am so honoured to have been appointed. I am proud to be following the path that has been trail blazed by inspirational Samoan women like Judge Ida Malosi, the first Samoan woman judge in New Zealand; and Justice Mata Tuatagaloa, the first Samoan woman Judge in Samoa. Both of these women have shown the power of combining a sharp legal mind with a true heart for our people.  Our countries will be well served if I am able to successfully model myself on their example.

What will it mean for pacific communities to have another pacific judge?

I feel affirmed, that the work that has been important to me throughout my career has been recognised as important in this role: the wellbeing of children, social justice, indigenous rights and responsibilities, fighting inequity. I have had the loveliest messages celebrating my appointment. I am struck by how connected Pacific people are.…more


Health & Well Being

Unique anti-cancer properties found in Tongan marine sponges, sea cucumber & sea squirts

Research by Victoria University of Wellington PhD graduate Taitusi Taufa has found new medicinal properties in marine sponges collected from Tongan waters, including several unique anti-cancer compounds.

“Through my research I isolated several new natural products with unique and interesting anti-cancer properties, which could help us in the future to synthesize and design new anti-cancer drugs.” 

He says his interest in the medicinal properties of natural marine products can be traced back to his childhood on Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga.   When he was 8 years old growing up in Tonga he accidentally poked a stick into his cousins eye and doctors there had told them there was nothing they could do and he would never see out of that eye.  However, a traditional healer in a neighbouring village applied drops from a local plant and within a month his cousin could see again.

“As a child, my grandparents and mother often used plants and herbal remedies to treat us when we were sick.…more


Humans of the Islands

HUMANS OF THE ISLANDS - SIAKI SI'I

SIAKI FEKITOA NA'A JR aka SIAKI SI'I 

ACTOR/DANCER/MODEL/SINGER & EVENT HOST 

TONGAN 

My name is Siaki Fekitoa Na’a Jr. also known as Siaki Sii. I am third generation to my family name Siaki and I am named after my dad. I was born in the Kingdom Island of Tonga and migrated to Los Angeles, CA at the age of 11 months old.

With my culture it is imperative to name which village my parents are from because that’s how islanders determine your family lineage. My dad is from Pokotala/ Uiha and my mom is from Kolovai/Foui therefore, with Tongan culture we claim the village our father comes from which makes me a proud Pokotala from Ha’apai. Although I am from this amazing island I was given an opportunity of a lifetime to live in the land of the free to work towards an AMERICAN DREAM! My mom is a US citizen by birth and my dad is a Tongan citizen by birth. So I am blessed to be both.…more


Sports

KEEPIN IT FRESH at the WOMEN'S RUGBY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT

We're Keepin It Fresh at the Women's Rugby League Tournament in Otahuhu.
Check out the highlights from the comp right here!!!


Blog

TRIBUTE: IN LOVING MEMORY OF PUA MAGASIVA

Pua Magasiva beloved father, brother, son and actor lit up our screens and our lives with his joy and light.

He has been put to rest by the hundreds who loved him from around the country in a beautiful outpouring of alofa.

Manuia lau malaga from the huge community of people who loved you.


Blog

SIVA AFI TEINE TOA - MOEMOANA SCHWENKE

By  Moemoana Schwenke 

So this year Siva Afi teine Toa from all around the world were blessed with a women’s open division for the World Fireknife Championships held in Hawaii at the Polynesian Cultural Centre.Stars aligned and 7 strong and fierce women met in one place to go head to head in a tough competition.

It was an empowering moment for myself just to be apart of it, history in the making. Besides being just a siva Afi competition it really was also celebrating the fact that women can do anything. It was definitely nerve racking but when I was fortunate enough to forward onto the finals I really just felt so proud to be a woman and to be a Samoan, and knowing that made me feel like a winner already.

Before a show hands get sweaty, you may start doing yourself or fear dropping or losing control of the stick, but nerves disappear when you believe in yourself and believe that you know your stuff. Being a female Fireknife dancer is very special.…more