Whats New?

Tonga volcanic eruption was the biggest explosion ever, scientists find

by Mariner Fagaiava-Muller

It was 15 January when Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted, but only now has it been found as the biggest explosion ever recorded by modern instrumentation.

According to academic journal Science, the Tonga eruption produced a larger amplitude than nuclear bombs conducted after World War II.

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai generated what are known as lamb waves.

These lamb waves circled the earth at least four times, which has never been done before. At their tallest, they exceeded beyond Earth’s surface.

A disaster of similar scale is the 1883 Krakatoa eruption, in which 70% of the Indonesian island was destroyed - killing 30,000 people.

"Tonga was a truly global event, just as Krakatau was, but we've now got all these geophysical observation systems and they recorded something that was really unprecedented in the modern data," The University of California’s Dr Robin Matoza told BBC News.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Those as far north as Alaska reported hearing repeated booms.
  • Tonga’s volcano blast was so colossal it was picked by nuclear activity monitors.…more

Whats New?

Activist Brianna Fruean awarded prestigious ‘Global Citizen Prize'

by Mariner Fagaiava-Muller

The Samoan/Tokelauan 23-year-old is the first Pacific person to be presented with the award, which has previously honoured the likes of Elton John and Warren Buffett.

The Global Citizen Prize recognises unsung activists in communities across the world, whose efforts towards social change are proven and diligent.

Fruean is among eight changemakers from each continent.

She has contributed several years in the organisation and leadership of climate change activism within the Pacific. At 16, she became the youngest winner of the Commonwealth Youth Award for her contributions to environmentalism.

She currently sits on the Pacific Climate Warriors’ council of elders and its youth representative.

Fruean, also a digital producer for TheCoconetTV and FreshTV, was nominated by executive producer Lisa Taouma.

“I didn’t even know about it,” Fruean says.

“I just got told one day to keep my phone off silent, and there might be a call coming my way. I didn’t expect it at all.”

“The first time I heard about it was in a [work] meeting and [Lisa] announced it.…more

Whats New?

Why are Pasifika dying from Covid more than everyone else?

by Mariner Fagaiava-Muller

Pasifika account for nearly half (43.4%) of Covid deaths per 100,000 people since the Omicron outbreak began, TheCoconet can reveal.

87 Pacific peoples with Covid-19 have died since 19 January, according to Ministry of Health data obtained by TheCoconet.

No other ethnic group in New Zealand is dying relative to their overall population more than Pasifika. The entire Pacific population is shortly above 350,000.

Māori stand at 23% of deaths per 100,000 people. The rate for Asians is 6.8%, while European and other ethnicities account for 26.7%.

Elderly Pacific peoples are at much higher risk of death. 73 people aged over 60 have died since the beginning of Omicron, compared to 14 aged 0 to 59.

University of Auckland associate professor of public health, Dr Collin Tukuitonga, says the deaths were expected and preventable - given socioeconomic factors were well looked after.

“Clearly in terms of poor access to health services, poor quality housing, difficult access to healthcare - there is a responsibility on the health system and people within it to have done better,” he says.…more

Whats New?

Lemauga Lydia Sosene delivers Parliamentary maiden statement

History was made again with a new Pasifika Member of Parliament joining the largest ever Pacific caucus in Aotearoa's parliamentary history.  It will now have a total of 11 Members of Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island and Tokelauan descent.

Lemauga Lydia Sosene was sworn in at Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.  She joined the Labour Party in 2000 and was the highest-ranked Labour list candidate who was not elected at the 2020 election. She replaces Louisa Wall who resigned recently.

Born and raised in South Auckland, Sosene hails from Māngere and has been a strong advocate for Pacific communities during her 12 year background in local body affairs. She was elected to the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board in the 2010 local elections and spent the last 9 years as the Chair.

“My parents dream was that I served my community, to know where I come from and to know where I am going. They both had service backgrounds and they didn’t have much, so to become a Member of Parliament to serve Aotearoa is very humbling,” Lemauga Lydia Sosene said.…more

Whats New?

Top Samoan lawyer mistaken for criminal defendant, stopped by court security

by Mariner Fagaiava-Muller

Tiana Epati spent four years as president of the New Zealand Law Society, but was held up by security when security wrongly thought she was one of the accused.

The barrister and former crown prosecutor posted about the incident to her Instagram story on Monday.

“So it finally happened. Got mistaken for a criminal defendant this morning when going to enter court,” she wrote.

“Held up by security and asked for my name on the [court appearance] list.”

“Thought I would include a selfie to show I was actually wearing one of my nicest suits too. #nowords”

Epati told TheCoconetTV, “I realised pretty quickly the security guy thought I was a defendant and I said really loudly ‘you know I am a lawyer, aye?’.

“Oh no, so sorry,” the guard replied.

“I wasn’t that rattled.  More at a loss to understand how a well groomed brown woman wearing an Issey Miyake suit and carrying a file could be the defendant.”

“And that a Māori security guard in Gisborne could make that mistake,” she said.…more

Whats New?

'A Boy called Piano' documentary wins Best Feature Documentary at the Montreal Independent Film Festival

Coco congrats to director Nina Nawalowalo, Fa'amoana 'John' Luafutu and the Luafutu family with their 'A Boy Called Piano - The story of Fa'amoana 'John' Luafutu winning 'Best feature documentary' at the spring edition of the prestigious Montreal Independent Film Festival.

This is Fijian director Nina Nawalowalo's first feature film.  

Arriving to New Zealand from Samoa as a young child in the 1950s, Fa'amoana was taken from his family and placed in state care, suffering terrible abuse alongside thousands of other Pacific and Maori children. This documentary explores his journey through state care, prison, gang membership, as well as the intergenerational impacts of these experiences; and ultimately, healing for Fa'amoana and his Family through harnessing the power of his voice as a storyteller.…more

Whats New?

'Sounds of the Moana' podcast series wins Gold at the prestigious New York Festivals Radio Awards

Cover photo - Ma’ara Maeva and Tau’ili’ili Alpha Maiava during the recording of 'Sounds of the Moana'

Coco congrats to the SOUNZ podcast series 'Sounds of the Moana' which has won Gold (the highest category award) at the prestigious New York Festivals Radio Awards (NYFRA).

Entries for this year's awards were received from over 30 countries and some of the global broadcasters shortlisted include BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, NBC News, RTÉ Ireland, Deutsche Welle (DW), Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Mediacorp. 

Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, says, “Malo lava and a big congratulations to SOUNZ and the ‘Sounds of the Moana’ podcast team for receiving the Gold award at the 2022 New York Festivals Radio Awards. I’m proud that the stories of Moana-Nui-ā-Kiwa and its vibrant history of indigenous sounds have been recognised internationally for its unique beauty. This is an exceptional feat and a big win for our Pacific whānau.”

Gold has not been awarded in the ‘Music Podcast’ category in at least the previous two years, making this a rare win.…more

Whats New?

"Tama Sāmoa" a couples passion project for the community

(TW: mention of mental health and suicide)

In 2020 “Teine Sāmoa” a book about cultural identity and discovery was published by Samoan Author Dahlia Malaeulu. The book received rave reviews and readers awaited a continuation of the story. This year the brother book to “Teine Samoa” called “Tama Samoa” was released by Dahlia and her husband Mani Malaeulu. Just like clock-work "Tama Samoa" repeated the cycle and recieved high praise.

We got to sit down with the writing duo and speak about their book:

What is the message behind Tama Sāmoa?

Mani: Tama Sāmoa holds so many messages for us. The male stereotypes, like having to ‘man up and get over it’ combined with other personal and cultural challenges we face places real pressure on the mental health and wellbeing of our tama Pasifika which I’ve seen and experienced first-hand. This is why we really wanted the messages of connection, talanoa and healing to shine through the book.…more

Whats New?

Surry Hills brawl victim heartbreaking reality | 7NEWS

via 7NEWS Australia

The family of a 23-year-old man knocked unconscious in a brawl outside a popular Surry Hills pub is coming to terms with the heartbreaking reality he may not live.

Evander Tuala was viciously attacked as two groups clashed early Saturday morning, police already charging two men as they vow to hunt down others involved.

Whats New?

Critical medicines and medical support provided to Tonga through 'Ofa Atu Tonga fund raiser

Yesterday medical supplies and equipment were packed by players from the Moana Pasifika rugby team into a shipping container destined for Tonga.

The container will be met by a team from Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) who were deployed on Wednesday 30 March to provide on the ground medical assistance, primarily mental health support through a team of specialists who can engage directly with those traumatised by the recent natural disasters as well as the current Covid-19 outbreak.

The PMA team in partnership with the respective governments of Tonga and New Zealand are working closely together to ensure that the medical supplies purchased through the donations from Moana Pasifika’s fundraising efforts are received by the local hospitals to be used on the affected communities.
Moana Pasifika’s fundraiser ‘Ofa Atu Tonga - With Love Tonga’ kicked off on 4 February at their pre-season game against the Chiefs and raised more than $75,000 for the people of the Kingdom of Tonga.…more