by Kalafi Moala
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Paperback, 160 pp
Tongan publisher and broadcaster Kalafi Moala’s new book exploring the dilemmas, paradoxes and challenges of modern Tonga is a must-read for anyone interested in current themes in the issues of Pasifika. In Search of the Friendly Islands is a thought-provoking examination of how tradition and modernity co-exist in Tongan society, not only in Tonga but also in the diasporic Tongan communities in New Zealand, Australia and the United States.
Is the Kingdom of Tonga losing its way? What is Tongan culture, and how will it determine the path of Tonga’s future? How will Tonga respond to changing circumstances? These and other questions are examined, with the goal of looking towards a dynamic and positive future for modern Tonga. Moala examines myriad issues including domestic violence, the culture of domination and hierarchy, traditional and modern leadership, the 16/11 riots, economic development, globalization and spirituality.
This is a significant book at this point in time for Tonga.
As major changes are currently taking place in the structure of Tongan government, Moala believes that simply reforming the government will not, in and of itself, achieve the hoped-for results. Tongan communities and individuals must, he urges, look within for the deeper transformations that will lead to true reform.
Professor Ian Campbell of the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, writes in the book’s foreword, “Reading [Moala’s] book, one can imagine him seated on the floor in a circle around the tanoa talking the same way as he writes, connecting the big issues to daily life. One can just as easily see this book in the hands of the international experts, teaching them about the ‘grass-roots.’”
Associate professor David Robie, director of the New Zealand co-publisher Pacific Media Centre at AUT University, says: “For more than a generation, Kalafi Moala has inspired the Pacific region as a newspaper publisher and social conscience . . . This book is another important contribution to debate and reform about the Friendly Islands and journalism’s role in a ‘challenge for the soul of our very civilization.’”