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Pasifika Foundation Hawaii: News

Ulu Flour Project: Pasifika Gluten-Free


Pasifika Foundation Hawai’i is currently working in partnership with the Pacific Business Center program (PBCP) at UH-Manoa in the development of a Pasifika-wide project known as the Pacific Regional Breadfruit Initiative.

Some excerpts from a recent briefing report on the project in development:

Commercialization of Ulu at an industrial scale for export has not occurred anywhere in the world, yet. With the discovery that Ulu is gluten free, the opportunity to develop and refine existing practices will provide major economic development, food security and sustainability benefits wherever it can be supported. Breadfruit is gluten-free and has been dehydrated and processed successfully into a flour in Samoa, Philippines and Jamaica. However, efforts to expand the processing to a sufficiently industrialized scale for the introduction of breadfruit flour in the U.S. market as a GF food product have been unsuccessful. Actually, it has not been tried. Another compelling reason is that growing time from planting to harvest conventionally took seven plus years for the tree to mature.

Hawaii: Main Pacific Hub for Breadfruit Flour Manufacturing and Export
Several American Affiliated Pacific Islands are strategically located to serve as sub regional hubs receiving dried breadfruit shipped from Micronesia, Polynesian and Melanesia. Hawaii can become the main Pacific regional manufacturing and export hub with key US Territories as transshipment spokes for ulu grown and dried from Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia. Likewise, production and transshipment infrastructure constructed in the Marianas will be the link to Japan and Asian markets. CH Robinson, a leading national and international food distributor estimates that 150 to 200,000 tons of regular (non GF) flour is moved every
week. To meet market demand for gluten free flour, a reliable production flow of a minimum of 100,000 tons per week will be essential. Engaging collaboratively with Oceania as a production source assures production supply no single pacific entity can meet on its own.

Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands have land that could be turned into breadfruit food forestry orchards that can support a gluten free breadfruit flour industry. These breadfruit trees could also provide food security in the case of natural disaster. Pacific Islands are aware of the work of Dr. Susan Murch in Canada and the rapidly growing demand for gluten-free products in the U.S., even so far as to include their endorsement of the proposed development at the recent Micronesia Chief Executives Summit on Saipan (December 4-6, 2013).

The two Samoas’ Summit which was held on December 5, 2012, brought together all of the pieces that are essential to developing a breadfruit flour industry – market demand; distribution networks; manufacturing expertise; export infrastructure; agricultural technology; agricultural land base – with the realization that a collaborative regional initiative can harness the collective potential and begin to create the partnerships essential for establishing a regional Pacific breadfruit flour industry. The ramifications for employment opportunities for local residents, familiar with the tree and its cultivation are significant. As tuna, a pelagic marine species is impacted by the growing radioactive run off plume that is alarming in its size and drifting towards Hawaii and the west coast from Fukushima, and fish stocks being depleted without meaningful conservation, agriculturally based economic development utilizing the synthesis of modern science and traditional wisdom centered around the breadfruit, is not only a more viable and healthy alternate to the tuna industry, it is safer and more sustainable.

Regional Media Course to Launch July 2013


The board of directors of Pasifika Media Association (PasiMA), the Pacific region’s leading professional media organization of independent media owners, operators and principals, sees ongoing media education as a priority need for effective media development.

In response to this need, the new PasiMA project has developed an online professional-support and distance-learning network grounded in Pacific culture and values, tailored to the needs of working journalists in the Pacific.

Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i is a key project partner in this ground-breaking initiative.

The online course, PasifikaTrainer, is now being alpha tested by a network of top Pacific Island journalists and journalism academics. It is scheduled for launch in July 2013.

The creation of this 21st Century online media support and training network, emerging from a Pacific perspective, will make advanced media training easily accessible to regional media professionals and contribute to their increased capacity and broadly support community media markets in the region.

A primary project focus is the development of teaching modules designed to provide existing professional journalists with the additional skills, knowledge and expertise required to venture deeper into the important field of investigative reporting.

In addition, a specific training and capacity building programme for media proprietors and staff in the generation of ideas and the furtherance of the development of multi-media platforms will be made available. This will entail the use of social media in both developing commercial viability and increasing news and information flow.

The new online resources were designed to assist prospective and existing media owners and managers with business management tools and models for business sustainability.

The project proposal was developed with the assistance of Associate Professor Martin Hadlow, formerly of the University of Queensland School of Journalism and Communication.

The primary project funder is the British High Commission in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The primary organizational goals of PasiMA are to:
• Promote and defend values of media freedom;
• Promote and uphold ethical practices and standards;
• Promote and develop good governance and professionalism;
• Facilitate and provide training and education for media in the Pacific region.

PasiMA is guided by a 7-member Board of Directors, led by an Executive Committee that includes Savea Sano Malifa (Editor-in-Chief of Samoa Observer) as Chair, Kalafi Moala (Publisher and CEO of Tonga’s Taimi Media Network) as Vice Chair and John Woods (Managing Editor of Cook Islands News) as Secretary-Treasurer.

PasiMA’s website ( features a real-time feed of Pacific news from content providers around the region, as well as updates on critical media freedom issues in the region.

United Nations Awards Funds for "This is My Village" Project


The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has announced a funding award to Pasifika Foundation Hawai’i and the Pasifika Media Association for their partnership project “This is My Village.”

Funding is derived from the Forum’s Trust Fund for the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

The project is the first phase of the development and implementation of a community-based model for indigenous engagement in a Pasifika media network, one that operates from a regional cultural perspective, sometimes referred to as “The Pacific Way.”

This project will seek to draw on the collective experience, wisdom and vision of the participant communities in Tonga, Hawai‘i and Samoa to compile a shared set of foundational principles and protocols upon which each community can design its own customized template for its desired type of media engagement.

Estimated start date for the project is May 2012.

Taimi Media Network and PFH Launch New Website


Nuku’alofa, Tonga – Tonga’s major media company, Taimi Media Network (TMN), officially launched its comprehensive website today. The new site,, offers news and other content from two newspapers – Taimi ‘o Tonga and the Tonga Chronicle, as well as Radio Station 88.1 and TMN-TV2.

The site was designed and implemented by Pasifika Foundation Hawaii.

“We welcome anyone interested in news and features from Tonga to visit our new site,” says Kalafi Moala, CEO of TMN. “Right now we are focusing on content from our two newspapers, but we’ll soon offer streaming radio and video as well.”

Moala explains that the site is the interface for a new kind of island “information community” for sharing essential news about the significant issues and events in the island kingdom and in Tongan communities worldwide. “As we continue to develop the site, we’ll be building in more opportunities for interactivity and participatory media. We envision the TMN site as the primary Tonga information resource.”

The new site contains extensive coverage of the recent elections in Tonga, as well as the ongoing process of the formation of a new government. Commentary, academic articles, official reports, local sports, and news from around Pasifika are also featured on the site, which is updated several times daily.

All site content is free and the new site also links to a TMN Facebook page.

TMN is a Tongan registered company under which the two newspapers, one radio station, 6 hours of daily TV programming and a website form a network of media production and information delivery from Tonga.

The Taimi ‘o Tonga is Tonga’s first independent newspaper, started in 1989 as a weekly. It is now published in Tonga twice weekly, and published out of New Zealand weekly for distribution to Tongan communities in New Zealand, Australia, and USA.

The Tonga Chronicle is Tonga’s oldest newspaper, launched in 1964 by the Government of Tonga. In 2009 the Taimi Media Network Ltd. took over its management, and published it as Tonga’s first and only weekly English language newspaper.

Radio FM 88.1 is licensed under Taimi Media Network and jointly operated and managed by Broadcom Limited, as a 24 hour FM radio service. TMN-TV2 is a TV production service belonging to Taimi Media Network Ltd. that is aired 6 hours daily on Digicel TV Channel 2 from 6 p.m. to 12 midnight.

Taimi Online was designed to be the web interface for TMN, where operations converge for coverage of Tonga’s events, people, issues, and information delivery to Tonga and the world.

"Militant" Hawai'i Film Gets Kudos at Tahiti Film Festival


PAPEETE, TAHITI – Hawaiian filmmaker Anne Keala Kelly’s newly released documentary Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai‘i was awarded a special jury prize at this week’s Festival International Du Film Documentaire Oceanien (FIFO) in Tahiti.

The packed Grand Theatre at Papeete’s Maison de la Culture exploded into loud cheers, hoots and applause when the special jury prize for Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai‘i was announced last night at the closing event of the Festival International Du Film Documentaire Oceanien (FIFO) in Tahiti.

Jurors were moved by its raw and passionate portrayal of the struggles of today’s native Hawaiians.

Noho Hewa had attracted considerable attention among the professional and community viewers for its edgy and explicit expression of the ongoing effects of colonialism in Hawai‘i. For many Tahitian and other visiting Pacific island viewers, Kelly’s film enabled them to understand, for the first time, the realities faced by the Hawaiian people in their own homeland, and the kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiian) resistance to the desecration and obliteration of their culture by the US military, real estate development, and tourism pressures.

In the Hawaiian language, hewa means “wrong” and noho means “to occupy.” From the military exercises and bombings at Makua and Pohakuloa and the desecration of burial sites at Hokulia and Wal-mart, to Maoli homelessness – in stark contrast to the widespread construction of upscale gated communities – and the resistance to the Akaka bill, Kelly’s film weaves a context of understanding of how the U.S. overthrow and continuing occupation of the sovereign Kingdom of Hawai‘i affect every aspect of native Hawaiian life. The film makes a case that through the force of U.S. laws, economy, militarism, and real estate speculation, the Hawaiian people are facing systematic, intentional obliteration.

The film features interviews with Hawaiian activists and academics, whose comments serve to further clarify the significance and direness of the ongoing erosion of Hawaiian culture. That’s a message that resonates deeply with the people of the islands of Pasifika, most of whom continue to struggle with many of the same issues.

Noho Hewa was more than six years in production, and in 2008 won the Hawaii International Film Festival’s Award For Best Documentary. Kelly is a Hawaiian journalist and filmmaker who has reported on politics, culture, the environment and indigenous peoples. Keala’s reports air regularly on the Pacifica Network’s Free Speech Radio News and her print journalism has appeared in The Nation, Indian Country Today, Honolulu Weekly, Hawai‘i Island Journal and other publications. Her news footage has been featured on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and Democracy Now! and in September 2008 Keala co-produced The Other Hawaii for Al Jazeera. She has an MFA in Directing from UCLA.

The Grand Prize winning film at FIFO was Te Henua E Noho, a moving film about the effects of climate change on a small island community. Te Henua E Noho (There Once Was an Island) was directed by New Zealander Briar March and produced by On The Level Productions. The film explores the profound question: what if your community had to decide whether to leave their homeland forever? Te Henua E Nofo puts a human face on the direct impacts of climate change, an immediate reality for the culturally unique Polynesian community of Takuu, a tiny low-lying atoll off the east coast of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.

The winner of the Prix Selection du Public – the popular choice of screening audiences – was Terre Natale: Retour a Rurutu (Native Land: Return to Rurutu), directed by Jean-Michele Corillon and produced by Kwanza & Bleu Lagon Production & Canal Overseas. A visually stunning and emotionally rich presentation, this documentary tells the story of two young adults, a brother and sister, who were born on the island of Rurutu in the Austral archipelago of French Polynesia and adopted as very small children by a French couple. After growing up in France, they return to Rurutu to re-connect with their culture and re-discover their roots.

Three special jury awards were given; along with Noho Hewa, the Austalian film Bastardy and the New Zealand documentary The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls were also given special tribute by the jury for their unique and compelling character.

FIFO is one of Pasifika’s major film events, a gathering of filmmakers, TV producers, and multimedia journalists from throughout the region to meet, network, and develop projects together. The 2010 festival screenings attracted more than 20,000 viewers in four screening venues at the cultural center.

Festival officials describe the event as a “meeting place for lovers of the Pacific, our vast region, which boasts such a varied and thriving cultural heritage, synonymous with dreaming, mystery and exploration . . . an enriching, sometimes astonishing, often surprising experience ranging over characters, identities, history and current affairs.”

Hawai‘i was represented at the festival by Kelly’s film, as well as by Olohega, a documentary produced by a partnership of Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i (PFH) and TV New Zealand/Tagata Pasifika. Olohega was selected by the festival committee as one of the 25 films screened for general festival audiences in addition to the 17 films that were entered in the juried competition.

Both Noho Hewa and Olohega were also among the seven films chosen for special question-and-answer sessions, an indication of the intense interest generated by these Hawai‘i-based films. Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i executive director Ana Currie was on hand to answer questions about Olohega, which chronicles the poignant and heartbreaking story of Tokelau’s fourth island, Olohega, “claimed” by an American whaling captain, Eli Jennings, in 1856. In 1925, Jennings’ descendants utilized their American connections to successfully annex Olohega, known then as “Swains Island,” to the United States, and continue to maintain their ownership of the island today.

The film tells the stories of the Tokelauan people of Olohega who were forcibly evicted from their island home in the 1950s. In their own words, the elders who now live in a tight-knit community on Oahu in Hawai‘i, describe their shock, sadness and shame at their eviction, as well as their longing to return to their beautiful and fertile island. Only a handful of people now live on Olohega, an island that once, as communal farming land, supported many Tokelauan communities with its bounty of crops.

After announcing the special jury award for Noho Hewa, jury member Elise Huffer explained that every member of the jury had been deeply affected by Kelly’s film. “This film is militant and uncompromising,” she stated, and said that the jury was unanimous in choosing to award a special prize for this film that told such an important story in such a powerful way.

“I’m shocked and deeply honored,” said Kelly in a post-award interview. “And for me the most important thing is that the message of the film was so strongly embraced by the jury, and by the audiences here. This is a story that needs to be told, and to be able to share it with other people of the Pacific is very meaningful to me.”

Ka Welina Network Unveiled


HAWAII – Ka Welina Network, a new web-based system for connecting visitors to Hawai‘i with Native Hawaiian communities, has launched an 8-month pilot test project. Six kanaka Maoli communities – on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island – are participating in Ka Welina Network, designed to offer genuine people-to-people cultural experiences to visitors, while creating benefits for Hawaiian communities, as defined by those communities.

Making several leaps beyond the principles of ecotourism, voluntourism, and cultural tourism, Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i and its project partners today unveiled the new web interface, Ka Welina Network. Three years in development, Ka Welina Network is a milestone contribution to creating a truly sustainable, community-based model for hosting visitors in Hawai‘i, as well as in other locales worldwide where indigenous communities may wish to share their culture with visitors. Pilot project organizations include: Waipa Foundation, Ko‘olaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club, Papakolea Community Development Corporation, Kipahulu ‘Ohana, Kawaiokalehua Foundation and Ho‘oulu Lahui/Pu‘ala‘a Cultural Center.

Tourism means different things to different people in Hawai‘i. To some, it is the state’s leading economic driver, providing nearly 30% of the State’s revenue. To others it represents a development tool that favors the needs and desires of the visitor over the needs of the resident and exploits Hawaii’s natural resources, its host community and their culture.

This fundamental disconnect between the tourism industry and the Native Hawaiian culture and community is a longstanding issue and has been formally acknowledged by the industry itself, as described the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) in its 2005 State Tourism Strategic Plan.

In response to this and other fundamental flaws in the current tourism model, Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i (PFH), a non-profit organization guided by a board of Maoli and Pacific Island cultural practitioners and educators, decided to develop a Community-Based, Host-Visitor (CBHV) model as an alternative approach. This new approach converts tourism from a process aimed at only serving the visitor’s needs to one that is mutually beneficial for both host and guest, and where visitors can begin to understand life in Hawai‘i from the lens of kanaka Maoli and where kanaka Maoli can set the parameters for inviting and hosting guests.

The Ka Welina Network project seeks to turn the way Hawaii looks at “tourism” on its head, focusing not on ever-increasing growth, filling more seats on planes and beds in hotels, and creating tourism experiences geared to the visitor’s vacation fantasies, but on Maoli communities and their own community goals and objectives.

“This concept, this project, is not about making tourism sustainable,” says Ramsay Taum, PFH board president. “It’s about creating sustainable communities that may choose to share their culture with visitors as part of the model for sustainability.”

The new web interface welcomes visitors and invites them to explore the various areas of the site, which includes background information on the CBHV concepts as well as an in-depth look at each host community and its ‘aina (place), ‘ohana (people), mo‘olelo (stories), and e pa‘alula mai (protocols). The site also features a social networking area, where visitors can interact with the host communities both before and after their visit.

“The goal,” explains Taum, “is for visitors to become part of a host community’s extended family. That way, the mutually beneficial relationship can continue long after the initial visit.”

Ka Welina Network is also a valuable resource for Hawai‘i residents wanting to learn more about local Maoli communities and organizations, and armchair travelers from around the world can gain new perspectives on the “real Hawai‘i” that exists behind the tourism industry marketing veneer of a carefree paradise.

The 8-month beta test will be followed by an analysis and modification process before being opened to broader implementation, with more community hosts, in late 2010. Currently, 12 additional host communities are working on developing their projects in preparation for that time.

The web interface development, and the community-based process leading up to the site launch, was funded by the Administration for Native Americans (ANA).

One unique aspect of Ka Welina Network is that instead of simply making a reservation, visitors must be invited by the hosts. And the form of exchange isn’t necessarily money, either – labor, expertise, and various other kinds of exchange may be requested by the host in lieu of or in addition to any monetary donation. It’s all about communities defining their own needs and desired benefits and designing their programs of hosting visitors in a way that helps to meet those needs.

This focus on community is a distinct departure from Hawaii’s mainstream tourism efforts, which are designed to attract people to the place, rather than to supporting and developing Maoli communities to act as hosts to share aspects of their culture with visitors. Once the visitor arrives, they usually find that they are separated – by a wall of commerce and a lack of information – from kanaka Maoli and all of the rich aspects of Hawaiian culture. Instead, they discover staged experiences and inaccurate cultural portrayals.

Ka Welina Network was created to offer an entirely different way to engage visitors to Hawaii. The most compelling feature of the CBHV project and its possibilities for the future is that it is a holistic approach, with a vision of a entirely new paradigm for empowered and sustainable Maoli communities interacting, in ways that they design and plan for themselves, with visitors. This is not a program for one or a few organizations, but the creation of a new Hawai‘i-wide model that seeks to restore pono (balance) to the relationship between hosts and visitors. The potential is enormous.

To visit the Ka Welina Network site::

PFH/Tagata Pasifika Film To Be Screened At Tahiti Film Festival


The 30-minute documentary film Olohega: Lost in Time has been chosen by the festival selection committee to be screened at the 7th Annual Pacific International Documentary Film Festival of Tahiti (Festival International du Film Documentaire Oceanien/FIFO Tahiti) in January 2010.

A Google Earth image of Olohega

A Google Earth image of Olohega

Produced this year in a partnership between Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i and TV New Zealand/Tagata Pasifika, this film chronicles the poignant and heartbreaking story of Tokelau’s fourth island, Olohega, which was claimed by an American whaling captain, Eli Jennings, in 1856.

In 1925, Jennings’ descendants utilized their American connections to successfully annex Olohega, known then as “Swains Island,” to the United States and continue to maintain their ownership of the island today.

The film tells the stories of the Tokelauan people of Olohega who were forcibly evicted from their island home in the 1950s. In their own words, the elders who now live in a tight-knit community on Oahu in Hawai‘i, describe their shock, sadness and shame at their eviction, as well as their longing to return to their beautiful and fertile island. Only a handful of people now live on Olohega, an island that once, as communal farming land, supported many Tokelauan communities with its bounty of crops.

Tokelau elders in Wahiawa discuss their love of their home island Olohega and their forced eviction from there in the 1950s.

Tokelau elders in Wahiawa discuss their love of their home island Olohega and their forced eviction from there in the 1950s.

Te Vaka's Opetaia Foa'i dances with Tokelau community in Hawaii.

Te Vaka's Opetaia Foa'i dances with Tokelau community in Hawaii.

One of Olohega's beautiful beaches

One of Olohega's beautiful beaches

The movement for the return of Olohega to the people of Tokelau continues and is gaining momentum throughout the Pacific. The documentary includes interviews with Tokelauans in New Zealand and Hawai‘i who are working towards that goal. The word-renowned musical group Te Vaka is also featured in the film; their popular song about the issue was instrumental in spreading awareness about Olohega.

Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i executive director Ana Currie explains that the goal of the film is to educate others about the issue and to advocate for a solution.

“Eli Jenning’s descendents who currently claim ownership of Olohega can’t be faulted for their ancestor’s appropriation of Olohega from the people of Tokelau. However, along with the United States, they now have an opportunity to right that wrong. The legacy that the Jennings family can create from the act of returning the island to Tokelau is far, far greater than that which is generated by holding it to themselves, and it is our hope that the film may open the way for discussions on how to create a resolution that will benefit all parties involved.”

Olohega: Lost in Time was selected as one of 37 films, out of almost 200 entries, to be screened at the festival, which runs from January 26-31 at Te Fare Tahiti Nui in Papeete. The FIFO Festival is one of Pasifika’s major film events, a gathering of filmmakers and others from throughout the region to meet, network, and develop projects together.

Festival officials describe the event as a “meeting place for lovers of the Pacific, our vast region, which boasts such a varied and thriving cultural heritage, synonymous with dreaming, mystery and exploration. This vast maritime continent will emerge in images over the four days of the event. The Festival will offer an enriching, sometimes astonishing, often surprising experience ranging over characters, identities, history and current affairs.”

For more information on the festival:

For more information on the film: email Ana Currie

To view the film in 3 parts:

Tahiti Cultural Exchange – July 2009


Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i was invited to visit Tahiti to meet with the members of the Maohinesia Association, a community group formed in 2002 (originally known as the Polynesian Triangle Association). The mission of the Maohinesia Association is to contribute to development in the Maohi Islands in the areas of culture, education, social well-being, sport and environment, with a special emphasis on cultural preservation, perpetuation and celebration. The association’s objectives go beyond Tahiti to include the entire Polynesian Triangle.

Noah Ha’alilio Solomon, a Hawaiian culture and language student at UH-Manoa who has been working with PFH’s CBHV project team for two years, traveled to Tahiti in July with a two-fold purpose; to meet with the members of the Maohinesia Association and create a connection between our organizations; and to explore aspects of community-based hosting of visitors as is practiced in Tahiti. Here is his report of his experiences.

Cultural Exchange – Pueu/Taravao and Mahina, Tahiti
As a project member on Pasifika Foundation Hawaii’s team, I was privileged to participate in a cultural exchange in Tahiti in the middle part of July this year. The purpose of this week-long exchange was for the proper education of Tahitian traditions and customs to visitors in a Tahitian family/community setting, while the participant lives among them, participating in the daily activities, helping with daily chores, and becoming integrated within the family/community.

The first part of the stay was hosted by Tere Fearon, a woman from a small island called Rakahanga in the northern part of Rarotonga. She communicates in English, French, Tahitian, and the dialect of Rarotongan native to her birth island.

On the first day, Tere and her dog Haku took a few friends and I to the beach, a small, quiet cove below her home in Mahina. We talked about the various fish and plants native to Tahiti, and how others were common in Hawai‘i. It’s always my thrill to unexpectedly come across plants that we have here as well, like laua‘e (maire) and lehua (rehua).

Down in the cove, we started to panapana (gather) some chapeau chinois, which is what I know as opihi. We hollowed them out, washed them in the ocean and ate right from the reef. We swam, relaxed and sunbathed as the day ended. The crowd then moved back up to her home on the mountain called Pihaapape, which means ‘hot bubbling water,’ as another friend explained the legend of how the mountain came to be known as such. During the ascent, I had picked some ferns and fauna, which I used to make a small haku for Aunty; she wore it for the rest of the night. The enjoyment continued with dinner of freshly caught fish and cocktails, while we talked story about Aunty Tere’s adventures around the South Pacific. After, we made our way to a bar called Manhattan, where Aunty’s cousin from Rarotonga plays live music.

The following day, after lunch, Aunty Tere shared some of the himene (songs) that come from Rakahanga and other parts of Rarotonga. The spoken language of Rarotonga matches closely to Hawaiian language, but specifically, and interestingly enough, the dialect spoken in Rakahanga is a bit closer in linguistic relation to Hawaiian. It was an exciting experience to share words and phrases only to discover they are similar if not exactly alike in both languages.

The following day, I was taken to the museum in which Aunty Tere works. A friend of mine that is from Tahiti who was also in town at the time is a descendant of the late American Author, James Norman Hall. The family has recently turned the author’s home into a museum in the district of Arue. Aunty Tere is a tour guide in the museum, and it was quite a treat to hear and see the life of Mr. Hall and also be a close friend of his great-granddaughter.

What was really interesting to me was my firsthand observation, as it seemed to unfold just before my eyes at that very moment, of the direct and initial result of the white male foreigner/navigator landing in the Pacific and marrying with a Polynesian woman, thereby raising truly “hapa” children, whom are steeped in two histories, two cultures, two backgrounds, and two (or more) languages. I realize this isn’t entirely the case, as this reality already happened throughout Polynesian history, but I see it still happening. I suppose I notice this because in order for two cultures clash on contact, both must still be intact as practiced on a daily basis. Such is the case in Tahiti, where the native language at the very least, is still spoken and serves as a connection to the traditional customs. Accordingly, this offered a nostalgic and refreshing glimpse into what old Polynesia was and still is in certain places, and for me, nothing holds more value.

After seeing the museum, I was then whisked away to Pueu and Taravao, by a group called Maohinesia Association. The president of the association is Teamo Rua, with whom I had contact before I left Hawai‘i to Tahiti. He and the treasurer, Stanley, came to pick me up. They spoke a little bit of English, fluent in French and Tahitian, but for the sake of learning, Teamo suggested the benefits of being immersed in Tahitian and I elatedly agreed.

We arrived at the house of their friend Valentine, who is the vice-president of the association. Her husband is a tattoo artist who uses traditional Tahitian patterns and other Polynesian designs. We ate lunch, fafa moa, which is like chicken lu‘au for us here in Hawaii – taro leaves and chicken.

We then went to Teamo’s house, which he recently purchased on a big lot among other agricultural lands. I remember thinking it resembled “Tahitian Homestead.” There, I was presented with priceless material as gifts. I was given vanilla grown in Tahiti, a rongorongo that Teamo picked up in Rapa Nui, and a CD that Teamo’s relative recorded. At this point, I gave them the gifts I had brought.

Teamo and Stanley had perused the PFH website prior to our meeting. There, they found the article that had run in HawaiiRed Magazine in which I was featured, and thanks to Google translation, there were able to understand the work I had done for PFH during an earlier phase of the community-based host-visitor project. They also read the mission statements and other recent projects and accomplishments of Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i. I was surprised they were able to acquire so much information about us outside of what Ana and I had given them in email.

It was time for dinner, so the matahiapo came, which is the word they use for kupuna. Two aunties arrived to greet my presence, and they were two of the nicest women I have ever met. They brought me hand-sewn pillowcases, a patchwork quilt, homemade monoi oil and a hand-dyed pareo.

The next day, we went to Vai‘ufa‘ufa Lake. This is an area near the isthmus of Tahiti that joins Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti. The legend that exists at this place is that two great whales once rose together from the ocean on either side, facing opposite directions. This union is what created the isthmus, leaving the landmasses on either side.

This place is located high in the uplands, on top of a vast plateau. Maohinesia hosts events here, like ceremony for the beginning of Matariki (Makali‘i) and other cultural celebrations. They host communal ‘awa drinking ceremonies and camp there as well.

The following day was set aside for a meeting with Beatrix Lucas, the newly appointed mayor of Taiarapu Est, Tahiti Iti. Ms. Lucas and her assistant formally received us in her office, and I thanked her with an oli and ho‘okupu as well. A journalist came to document and photograph the meeting, and the next day, there was an article in the daily newspaper distributed throughout the country.

That afternoon was my last day with Maohinesia. A big party was planned in honor of the meeting between Maohinesia and Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i. I was greeted again with chants and songs of welcome, in a formal setting, and I responded accordingly. I was presented again with gifts, and we dined together and celebrated. Music and song and dance followed.

It is partly thanks to modern technology and Google translation programs that I was able to be received and hosted in the way I was. Teamo had printed out several copies of the article, as well as PFH’s mission statements and information about who we are. He was constantly introducing me to all of his friends, “from Hawai‘i, culture and community building,” and he gave a copy of the PFH information to everyone that had a moment to read it.

Currently, Maohinesia is making a valiant effort toward planning, funding and building the “Eco-Village and Vai‘ufa‘ufa.” I have received a plan of this project, and they may break ground within the next year. The village is to have eight houses on a multiple-acre lot near the area where they host ceremonial and cultural events. Each house will serve a different purpose that aligns with some aspect of traditional Tahitian customs and knowledge; tattoo, sculpture/carving, traditional healing, traditional cooking, etc.

Inclusively, the visit to Tahiti, meeting with Maohinesia on behalf of Pasifika Foundation Hawai‘i was very beneficial to me on many levels. Professionally, I feel I have helped make some important new connections on behalf of PFH. Culturally, it was so fulfilling for me to be immersed in a language so closely related to Hawaiian, for it allowed me a glimpse into the archaic forms of perception that Hawaiian has almost lost historically. Emotionally, the idea of being welcomed in a community that is just as happy with my presence as I am being in theirs without a thought paid to the question of money has shown me a different side of traveling, and has triumphed with success over any previous trip/vacation/visit I have ever taken. Personally, I was honored to be hosted and embraced by our Tahitian family in the blue planet called Pasifika, I am truly honored to have been able to do this.

Ni Sa Moce, Mere Lomaloma


Well-known Pasifika radio broadcaster and programmer Mere Lomaloma Elliot passed away peacefully in Auckland on July 27, after battling cancer for many months.

Mere is perhaps best known in Fiji and the Pacific region for her remarkable achievements as the manager of Auckland’s annual Pasifika Festival. During her tenure, the festival expanded from a small but significant event celebrating the Pacific communities in Auckland to one of the largest annual events in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting enthusiastic crowds of more than 200,000 attendees from around New Zealand and Pasifika each year, eager to experience this dynamic cultural interchange of dance, music, traditional arts and delicious regional foods.

She was also one of the founding members of the regional organization Pasifika Foundation, based in Samoa.

Mere’s career in media began in Fiji, where she was on the team that founded Fiji’s first commercial 24-hour English language and Fijian language radio station. In that position, she revolutionized the programming format, striving for accessibility and interactivity for Fijian listeners. She also anchored the weekend news on Fiji Television. In Auckland, Mere was also a well-known Aotearoa radio personality, with a weekly Fijian community broadcast on station 531PI.

She was a member of the board of directors of the Fiji Observer, Aotearoa’s first Fiji bilingual newspaper, as well as the board of the Pacific Arts Centre and the Auckland Museum Pacific Advisory Board.

Mere will be remembered for her kind and enthusiastic personality, her creative initiative and her determination – all of which she applied in her ongoing efforts on behalf of the people of Fiji and of Pasifika.

Mere is survived by her husband Paul Elliot and four children.

Mere, you will be greatly missed.

–Ana Currie

New Book by Kalafi Moala Published in Hawai'i and Aotearoa


Media Crusader’s Blighted Dream

By Geoff Cumming
New Zealand Herald
Copyright 2009, APN Holdings NZ Limited

Tongan Publisher and democracy advocate Kalafi Moala. 
Photo / Richard Robinson

Tongan Publisher and democracy advocate Kalafi Moala. Photo / Richard Robinson

“Be careful what you wish for,” says Kalafi Moala self-mockingly, “you just might get it.”

With his beloved Tonga on the verge of democratic reform, you might forgive the man behind the newspaper that took on the ruling elite for feeling just a little self-satisfied.

The pro-democracy campaigner has, after all, been jailed, barred from his homeland and survived a ban on the distribution of the Taimi o Tonga, the newspaper he launched 20 years ago.

Four years after that ban was overturned, Tonga’s new ruler, King George Tupou V, promised to hand over ultimate power to Parliament. A reform commission is now developing the ground rules for elections next year.

The cherished goal is so near that you might expect Moala’s new book, In Search of the Friendly Islands, to be an optimistic, even triumphant, reflection on the long crusade and the promised land that awaits.

Yet here is Moala, 60, on Tongan youth: “Our young people are known for their drug dealing and gang associations, their organised crime and violent assault on their victims. Our people are out there among some of the most vicious criminals of any society.

“The hideous growth of violence I have seen in our Tongan society is an indictment on the domination system so deeply rooted in our social structure.”

Don’t get him started on some fellow pro-democracy campaigners. “The leaders began showing signs of arrogance and personal, selfish ambitions that were not consistent with the principles that had brought the movement into being.

“The oppressed had become the oppressor … doing the very things that the Government had been criticised for.”

Is this former missionary the ultimate party-pooper?

Moala is in Auckland for today’s book launch before returning to Nuku’alofa for the Tongan launch – which looms as far more contentious. Not so long ago he was forced to live here after Tongan authorities refused him admission on his American passport (he had lived for three years in San Francisco).

With wife Suliana, he went back to Tonga two years ago, after citizenship laws were eased, to care for his mother, now 81, at their Nuku’alofa home. Their adult children are scattered around the world.

As a measure of the progress Tonga has made, Moala’s company has won the management contract for the official, Government-owned newspaper, The Kalonikali (Chronicle) and intends to turn it into Tonga’s first English-language newspaper. While Taimi o Tonga’s advertising revenue has not been spared the global downturn, it’s ticking over while his other focus is the six hours a day of local programming he puts out on the Chinese-owned CCTV channel.

“It’s very exciting for me,” he says of the Kalonikali bid. “The days of censorship are much more relaxed.”

Nuku’alofa, too, is more relaxed. The Black Thursday riots which destroyed businesses and left eight dead on November 16, 2006, was “one of the saddest days of my life,” he records in the book.

He rejects the widely-reported view that the riots flowed inevitably from Government intransigence.

“It had nothing to do with reform or with ‘the will of the people’,” he writes.

“Behind the violent rage that spilled over the streets of Nuku’alofa, where buildings were set on fire and and cars burned in the street, was an organised plan, orchestrated by some of the leaders of the pro-democracy movement.”

He blames his former close friend and ally, the pro-democracy MP Akilisi Pohiva – with whom he was once imprisoned – and his colleagues for inciting the riot. “The pro-democracy leaders actually believed they could impose democratic reform by mob force – that the Government might collapse giving way for the King to call an election under a reform agenda.”

Moala accuses Pohiva and his extremist supporters of blatantly using unemployed youths who had no interest in politics but were “anticipating a drunken party that involved some violence”.

“… Here was a movement I had given years of my life to promote and yet they had done the unimaginable. In one stroke of stupidity, the movement had made itself odious to those who have any sense of morality.”

While the book dwells on Black Thursday only briefly, the episode reflects several of its main themes: the violence and domination endemic in Tonga’s social structure, political expediency, the loss of the “Tongan way”, family breakdown and the erosion of spiritual and moral values.

Moala sees these concerns as major hurdles to Tongan progress. “Reforms to our political and economic systems will not produce the desired social outcome without a truly spiritual reformation that will affect every aspect of Tongan life.”

Listening to Moala in the Penrose offices of Taimi o Tonga, it’s easy to imagine him sharing his wisdom with the men and women at a village gathering – or in church.

“Some of the things we are trying to put together as solutions to our problems – as wonderful as they may be – there’s a tendency for some of these solutions to be quite shallow.

“There’s this idea that once we become a democracy our problems will be solved, we will become wealthier, we will become happier, crime will disappear …

“That’s such a misconception and one of my biggest fears is that people’s hopes will be built up and they will be deeply disappointed.”

The youth problem has the potential to explode, he says. About 2000 young people leave high school every year and many “loaf around, unemployed”. The results include drunkenness and a rise in teen pregnancies. The book begins with a depressing catalogue of killings and organised crime involving Tongans in Sydney, Auckland, Nuku’alofa and Mesa, Arizona.

Economic challenges, anti-Chinese sentiment and the breakdown in traditional family structures are all discussed.

As if these are not enough, Moala says Tonga’s elitist class system, with its ingrained belief in “place”, and a social structure which relies on domination will make the transition to democracy difficult.

Many villages are still coming to grips with what political reform will mean, he says. “They are asking ‘what are we changing from, what are we changing into?’

“A lot of people have passively gone along with things and are beginning to ask hard questions. The critical thing is many of the leaders can’t answer those questions.”

It’s not yet clear how far next year’s elections will take Tonga towards true democracy, he says, with Parliament still expected to be a mix of elected members, nobles and perhaps royal appointees. “Parliament is going to become supreme, but in what sense is the question.”

He advocates a “Tongan solution” in which the Government is finally accountable but which retains “the uniqueness of our culture and social structure”.

With no history of party politics, potential parties are beginning to emerge ranging from “extreme reformists” grouped around Pohiva to conservatives wanting to slow the pace of progress. Moala has no desire to run for office.

“I have a definite sense of calling. As a media person I want to try to help in shaping a Tongan solution – putting out information that will contribute to building it up both socially and economically.”

Moala’s book is more than a reality check for those who see Tongan democracy as an end in itself. He offers solutions – and these require a leap of faith.

He cites the four cornerstone values of faka-Tonga (the Tongan way): respect; maintaining relationship and social obligations; loyalty and passionate commitment; and humility.

Relating to each other as equals will help to reduce violence.

But the book amounts to a call to Tongans to rediscover their spiritual and Christian values – the “divine vocation” which, Moala says, permeates every grouping of human relations, from families to organisations.

Its core purpose, or character, can be good or evil, angelic or demonic.

Democracy, it seems, will not succeed without considerable prayer and a general rediscovery of spiritual values, based in part on faka-Tonga.

“We need to go back to our history, look at some of the things which established us …

“Can we rediscover the values in our own culture, in our faith-based principles, that have worked for us?”

For those living outside Tonga in particular, he says, the church continues to hold the Tongan social fabric together. “The call for changes to our governing structure … must involve not only the abandoning and discarding of all that is harmful but must be replaced by that which serves the divine imperative.”

Kalafi Moala’s In Search of the Friendly Islands is being launched today at the Onehunga Community Centre, 83 Church St, Onehunga, between 11 am and 1pm. It is published in New Zealand by the Pacific Media Centre and, in Hawaii, by Pasifika Foundation Press.

Life and times of a newspaper man
1989: Launches independent newspaper Taimi o Tonga.
1996: Jailed, along with pro-democracy MP Akilisi Pohiva, for 16 days for alleged contempt of Parliament.
2003: Distribution of Taimi o Tonga is banned. The ban is overturned by court action a year later.
2006: Black Thursday riots on November 16 leave eight dead, shops looted and downtown Nuku’alofa ablaze.

Pasifika Foundation Press Launches First Book


Story-telling the tough Tongan issues
By Josephine Latu: Pacific Media Watch

Kalafi Moala with columnist Tapu Misa

Kalafi Moala with columnist Tapu Misa

Tongan publisher Kalafi Moala uses real-life examples for story-telling about sensitive Pacific issues in a new book launched in New Zealand at the weekend – such as elitism, religious hypocrisy, child abuse and domestic violence, racism against Chinese immigrants and the exploitation of tradition.

“It’s uncomfortable truth,” Kalafi told Pacific Media Watch about his vivid Tongan examples.

One story in his book, In Search of the Friendly Islands, is a gritty childhood memory of a boy getting his earlobe clipped off by his own father – because he “wouldn’t sit still” during a haircut.

“But that’s part of transparency. We have to bring up those issues – we’ve got to face it, we’ve got to embrace it so we can come up with certain solutions,” said Moala.

The “courageous” book by Taimi ‘o Tonga publisher Moala – arguably the kingdom’s most prolific media figure – was launched at the Onehunga Community Centre and Library in Auckland on Saturday.

The event brought together various Pasifika media personalities, including New Zealand Herald columnist Tapu Misa, Spasifik publisher Innes Logan, Radio 531 PI founder Sefita Hao’uli, Pasifika Foundation Hawai’i executive director Ana Currie, Pacific Media Centre director Dr David Robie and MP Carmel Sapuloni.

It also marked the launch of Pasifika Foundation Press, which published the book along with AUT University’s PMC.

In Search of the Friendly Islands, is a candid critique of Tonga’s political, social and cultural challenges, and deals with many misconceptions that the public – including the foreign press – may have about the issues.

‘Parachute journalists’

The book is also so outspoken that University of the South Pacific Professor Ian Campbell predicts “many Tongans will be embarrassed by what Kalafi has to tell them”.

In a separate chapter, Moala talks about the notorious riot of 16/11. Rather than a freedom protest, he claims the crisis was driven by self-interested “pro-democratic” leaders wishing to seize political power through mob force.

Overseas “parachute journalists”, Kalafi claims, got it all wrong.

The two-time Pacific Media Freedom Award winner said much of the reporting about Tongan politics by Western media are “very shallow”, often pushing a simplified “one size fits all” democratic model that ignores the complexity of the Tongan situation.

His message is that social and political problems will not be solved simply by changing the political and economic system – it involves a spiritual and ideological dynamic as well.

Associate professor David Robie described the book as “brutally honest” and a “reality check on Tonga today”.

“While some might see Kalafi’s message as pessimistic, I see this as essentially an optimistic book – one that is a challenge of how to be far more constructive about change,” he said.

As a long-time advocate of democratic reform and media freedom in Tonga, Moala is indeed positive about the nation’s future, and is opting for resolution and reconstruction in his campaigns.

In addition to operating the weekly Taimi ‘o Tonga and TV channel TMN-2, his newest venture is taking over operations for the government-owned Tonga Chronicle (after being threatened, sued, and banned by the government in previous years).

“I’m far more optimistic now about Tonga than ever before in my life. I see a lot more togetherness, in the political, social and religious spectrums,” he said at the launch.

In Search of the Friendly Islands, by Kalafi Moala. Published by Pasifika Foundation Press and AUT Pacific Media Centre. ISBN 9781877314759. NZ$34.95 South Pacific Books Ltd.



Pasifika Foundation Hawaii Publishes In Search of the Friendly Islands; New Zealand Launch Set For March 21

Tongan newspaper publisher and broadcaster Kalafi Moala’s new book exploring the dilemmas, paradoxes and challenges of modern Tonga will be launched in New Zealand next week.

The book, 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,” says Ana Currie, executive director of Pasifika Foundation Hawaii, publisher of the book. “One of our goals is to recognize and strengthen the connections between the islands of Pasifika, and in recognition of the ties between Hawai’i and Tonga, we are honored be publishing this important book.”

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.’”

The book cover features art by the renowned Tongan lalava artist, Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi.

The New Zealand launch of the book will be celebrated with a reception and book signing at the Onehunga Community Center, 83 Church St., on Saturday, March 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Tonga launch will take place the following Saturday, March 28, at the Tonga National Centre on Vuna Road, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In Search of the Friendly Islands
Published in Hawai‘i by
Pasifika Foundation Press
ISBN: 978-0-9823511-0-9
and in New Zealand by
Pacific Media Centre
ISBN: 978-1-877314-75-9
softcover • 160p
US$19.95 • NZ$34.95

Maoli Petroglyphs Found in Tonga


Ancient Hawaiian rock art discovered in Tonga
From Matangi Tonga

30 Jan 2009
Nuku’alofa, Tonga

This stylised figure was carved into Foa beach rock hundreds of years ago.

This stylised figure was carved into Foa beach rock hundreds of years ago.

THE discovery of over 50 ancient rock engravings, including stylised images of people and animals, at the northern end of Foa island, Ha’apai, opens up a new chapter in Tonga’s history and may shed some light on its voyaging past.

The existence of the petroglyphs that had lain hidden under beach sand, possibly for hundreds of years, has opened up the possibility that there were direct long distance voyages between Tonga and Hawaii in the pre-European contact era.

After the rock engravings were noticed emerging on the Foa coastline late last year, following erosion by heavy seas, a Tongan resident artist, Shane Egan went to Ha’apai and had a look at them, before contacting the Lapita archaeologist, Professor David Burley, at the Simon Fraser University in Canada, to further investigate and document the site with him.

Professor David Burley and Shane Egan recording a full-scale copy of the engravings on the beach rock at Foa, Ha'apai, Tonga. Photo by Dave Bracken.

Professor David Burley and Shane Egan recording a full-scale copy of the engravings on the beach rock at Foa, Ha'apai, Tonga. Photo by Dave Bracken.

The Foa Petroglyphs have yet to be carbon dated, but both Shane and Professor Burley are excited about the find.

Said Shane, “The site on Foa Island is an amazing piece of artwork, with over fifty engraved images. Having an average height of 20 to 30 cm (some much larger) there are very nicely stylised images of men and women, turtles, dogs, a bird, a lizard as well as footprints and some weird exotic combinations.”

Shane, who has a keen interest in archaeology and the early history of Tonga, said he thought the images were close in form to those found in ancient Hawaii between 1200 and 1500 AD.

“This date correlates closely with an adjacent village site and pigeon-snaring mound (sia heu lupe) on Foa previously documented by Burley. It also raises the question of direct long distance voyages between Tonga and Hawaii in the pre-European contact era.”

The Foa rock engravings are on two large slabs of fixed beach-rock that Shane believes have been hidden and preserved under more than half a metre of sand and foliage for possibly hundreds of years.

A Foa petroglyph dubbed "Star-man"

A Foa petroglyph dubbed "Star-man"

Exposed by erosion

“After some recent erosion by heavy seas a chapter in Tonga’s ancient history has decided to present itself to the world,” he said.

The rock engravings were first sighted by visiting friends Richard Whelan and Janelle Johnston from Melbourne, “they told me of what looked to be some man-made engravings on beach rock at the north end of Foa Island in Ha’apai.

“After an initial investigation that confirmed the authenticity of the artwork, and identified the images as being very close in form to those found in ancient Hawaii, I invited Professor David Burley, being the leading authority in the area, to collaborate with me on the recording and documentation of this startling site.”

“A return visit to map the site and images in late December with Burley, and a follow-up visit to carry out night photography with my son Chas Egan and his partner Anna Fransson in early January, now provides a detailed and intriguing record that presents as many questions as answers.”

Shane said that Tonga’s reported rock art has been limited to simple geometric engravings found on several of the large facing stones of the Langi at Lapahaon Tongatapu.

“One exception is a single engraved outline of a foot on a stone at the Royal Tomb of Mala’e Lahi on ‘Uiha recorded in 1991 by Professor Burley; and a second hand report in 1920 of carved figures in southern Ha’apai by the archaeologist William McKern. Petroglyphs are similarly rare in Samoa but are found widely distributed throughout eastern Polynesia, especially in the Marquesas, Tahiti and Hawaii.”

Over 50 figures dance across the beach rock at low tide, and are clearly visible with night lighting.

Over 50 figures dance across the beach rock at low tide, and are clearly visible with night lighting.

Shane said that at the site on Foa Island the petroglyph images unfortunately occur within the tidal range and once exposed are constantly being eroded by waves, washing sand and rocks.

“The grooves are now shallow and in the broad light of day one would be excused for passing them by unnoticed. At night, with torch lighting from the side the glyphs immediately take form and in greater detail jump up at you, revealing a myriad of images dancing about the rock.”

Shane believes that many people will want to go and see the newly discovered artwork but there is a danger that they may be damaged. “We only ask people to respect the past and refrain from walking on the engravings or along the brittle edge of the rock layer. Tonga’s historic remains are fragile and this is a highly unusual and no doubt important story for present and future generations of Tongans to ponder,” he said.

Pasifika Foundation Hawai'i a "Shining Star": PFH receives ANA grant


Shining Stars: Groups get $5.3 million in federal grants

The federal Administration for Children and Families is awarding up to $5.3 million in grants to seven native organizations in Hawaii, American Samoa and Guam for social and economic development strategies and healthy marriages.

Hawaii grants include: $845,769 for three years to the Keomailani Hanapi Foundation for an art education training program; $577,093 for three years to the Nanakuli Housing Corp. to design affordable modular housing; $1,152,476 for three years to the Waianae Community Re-Development Corp. for an organic food production venue; $709,260 for three years to the Waipa Foundation for a certified commercial kitchen facility to process crops and develop small businesses; $385,444 for two years to the Pasifika Foundation Hawaii Inc. to provide Native Hawaiian communities’ participation in the tourism industry.

American Savings Bank gave $10,000 to the Girl Scouts of Hawaii to help fund its “Commit to a Girl” After School Hours Program for grades 1 through 6.

The Hewlett Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation gave $10,000 to the Maui Coastal Land Trust’s first video project, which documents the trust’s protection of 4,000 acres from development. The amount was matched by Aerial Filmworks in the rental of Cineflex video equipment.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Te Vaka to Perform at Five Concerts in Hawaii in October


Te Vaka at the Great Wall during their Olympics tour

Te Vaka at the Great Wall during their Olympics tour

The Pasifika music sensation Te Vaka will be in Hawaii for five supercharged concerts to be held in late October.

2008 has been an incredible year so far for Te Vaka with two top awards already under their belt and now, “Tamahana”, written by Opetaia Foa’i and Malcolm Smith, has won the “ International” category in the 28th Australian Songwriting Association Awards. The Australian Songwriting Contest is highly respected and extremely prestigious and is the longest running songwriting competition in Australia. The National Awards Night held in Sydney on the 28th of August was a memorable event. The winners of the 12 songwriting categories performed their winning songs to a sold out venue of top music industry personnel and Australian celebrities. Te Vaka’s performance of “Tamahana” on the night also won the group the PPCA “Best live Performance of the night” Award presented by Mondo Rock Bass player Paul Christie.

Te Vaka was invited to perform at the coronation of King George V in Tonga in August of this year, as well as at several venues at the Olympic Games in Bejing.

The Hawaii concert schedule is:
22nd October – Moloka’i, Hawaii – free concert and workshop

24th October – 7:30pm Castle Theater, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, Maui Box Office (808) 242-SHOW (7469)

25th October – Pipeline Café, 805 Pohukaina Street, Honolulu tickets or (808) 550-8457

28th October – 8:00pm BYUH Cannon Activities Center, Laie, O’ahu

1st November – 8:00pm Kahilu Theater, Hawaii Island Box Office (808) 885-6868 Tel (808) 885-6017

Green Businesses in Hawaii Honored


Hawaii’s businesses, individuals and organizations who have taken steps to be “green” were honored at the second annual Who’s Keeping Hawai‘i Green on Thursday, September 18.

Who’s Keeping Hawai‘i Green aims to raise awareness on sustainability issues, inspiring our community to take part in preserving our environment by fostering sustainable behavior in how we live, work and play. This year’s awardees included: Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA); Hawai’i Regional Cuisine, Inc.; Maui Brewing Co.; Styrophobia; Evolution Sage; Unlimited Construction Services Inc.; Philip K. White and Associates and Philpotts & Associates, Inc.; Actus Lend Lease LLC; UH Environmental Law Program; Re-use Hawai‘i; Ramsay Taum of Sustain Hawai’i and Pasifika Foundation Hawai’i ; Robert King, founder of Pacific Biodiesel, Inc.; Cellana, Town & Downtown Restaurants; Muumuu Heaven; Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu; and late John Kelly, Jr. for the lifetime achievement award. Jack Johnson is this year’s celebrity honoree.

Kona Brewing Company’s Mattson Davis will delivered the program’s keynote address, sharing the story of Kona Brewing Company’s journey along the pathway to sustainability.

The event was sponsored by PacificBasin Communications, in partnership with Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a supporter of environmental education in schools and communities throughout Hawai‘i.

A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit The Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation. Other sponsors for the event are: City & County of Honolulu, Hagadone Printing, Puna Geothermal Venture, HECO, and SunTech.

Samoan Head of State Speaks at UH-Manoa


A Pacific Indigenous Dialogue on the Coexistence of Culture and Religion and its role in Peace and Reconciliation.

Honolulu – A new book by Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, was the focus of a presentation and panel discussion held August 26 at the UH-Manoa School of Architecture Auditorium.

The recently launched book, Pacific Indigenous Dialogue on Faith, Peace, Reconciliation and Good Governance, is a compilation of papers presented during the Interreligious Colloquium conference held in Samoa in December 2005. That conference examined the place of culture and religion in contemporary Pacific island society.

Tuiatua Tamasese greets members of the audience following the panel presentation.

Tuiatua Tamasese greets members of the audience following the panel presentation.

The UH-Manoa event was hosted and organized by the Matsunaga Institute for Peace, which invited indigenous scholars from several areas of expertise for a panel discussion with Tuiatua Tamasese that focused on various themes explored in the book.

The book is widely considered a significant one in the emerging regional movement of the people of Pasifika taking the initiative to tell their own stories of their experiences and perspective to each other and beyond, rather than be anthropologically analyzed by outsiders.

The interface between traditional Pacific island spirituality and Christianity has been much examined by Western researchers who have been largely unsuccessful in reaching any meaningful conclusions. The effects of Margaret Mead and her anthropological work, Coming of Age in Samoa, are just one example of this phenomenon.

Tuiatua Tamsese’s new book was described by one reviewer, Maori scholar Dr. Te Awekotuku, as a “provocative and insightful series of observations of the lived organic visceral experience of our Pacific peoples with Christianity and the colonial crisis.”

At the UH-Manoa event, the auditorium was packed with an eager audience as His Highness and the entire hall chanted a prelude to the event about to take place. The deep silence between the end of the chant and the introduction of each participant in the forum was an unspoken sign of respect for Tuiatua Tamasese.

His Highness was then warmly welcomed by the panel members. These panelists included Aviam Soifer, Dean, University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law; Associate Professor Jeannie Lum, Matsunaga Institute for Peace; Professor Vilsoni Hereniko, University of Hawaii Pacific Island Studies; Professor Ramsay Taum, University of Hawaii School of Travel Industry Management; Professor Jerry Glover, Hawaii Pacific University and Professor John Charlot, University of Hawaii Department of Religion.

The panel moderator was Professor Deane Neubauer of the East West Center and Papalii Dr. Tusi Avegalio of Pacific Business Center Program at the University of Hawaii served as Master of Ceremonies.

The distinguished panel.

The distinguished panel.

His Highness gave an introductory speech about his book and its focus on the continued quest for peace and harmony, as well as the words passed down from his ancestors. After speaking about the divine qualities of genealogy and the importance of the connection and harmony between the heavens, humans, and the earth, he noted that the ancient Samoans, and other Pacific Islanders, relied on the understanding of this connection. He described as an example “the detailed and respectful process” of preparing food as a way of forgiveness towards nature, and that in the Samoan religion, remorse and forgiveness coexist. Then, after talking about self-reflection, the humility of knowing you cannot reach perfection, and that the search for God is the search for unity because unity is God, he simplified his introduction with four sentences.
“To talk about harmony is to talk about peace and unity.
“To respect nature is to respect man.
“To respect the soul is to respect the body.
“To respect life is to respect death.”

The panel discussion consisted of prepared questions and began with one from John Charlot, who asked the reason for traditional Samoan gods remaining in Samoa along with Christianity.

Tuiatua Tamasese responded that he had reservations about the two living in harmony, and mentioned what has happened over the past years in the struggle for duality. He then said, however, that the very forum they’re participating in comes from a call for coexistence, and that we are forever looking for answers.

Charlot wondered if His Highness saw Christianity as an equal partner in this search, and His Highness responded quite clearly that he did – that in the end people can’t do everything on their own, and at the end of the day it’s the intelligence that will ensure something endures.

Jeannie Lum then asked two questions, the first being if His Highness thought Christianity has affected Samoan society through colonization or complementation, and His Highness stated with a smile, “Colonization, definitely.” Everyone burst out laughing at this deadpan response. He then resumed his insightful commentary, bringing up the point that Samoan history has suffered because it was written by missionaries and sanitized, and that people are too hung up on certain points in Samoan culture to discuss them. Her second question about the role of women in Samoan society was met a statement that women have roles in social, political, and business circles, despite what some cultures say about Samoans.

In this vein, Vilsoni Hereniko asked two questions, about the integration of village customs with Western law and about time seeming to be in short supply in Western society. In response, Tuiatua Tamasese spoke of the process of forgiveness and how hard it is to quantify it, adding that it’s essential, in the quest for peace, to allow time for forgiveness. Perhaps Western law, with its regard for quick resolutions, short-circuits this process.

Next came questions from Jerry Glover about modern problems facing Samoans, such as reciprocity – a basic tenet of Samoan philosophy – being at odds with market principles. His Highness responded that he feels that the biggest problem facing Pacific islanders today is the depletion of the ozone layer and the erosion of traditional values of sustainability and care for the land that underlie that global reality. He then recounted his visit to China and told of about people there who were just as concerned about the environment as everyone else, and mentioned the painful truth that the market is driving this economy, further driving in his point that we are all equally culpable but also capable of change.

Ramsay Taum, after a short description of the three minds in Hawaiian religious thought – the spiritual mind, the mental mind, and the physical mind – asked about Samoan theology’s view of the mind. His Highness explained in detail that Samoan theology accepted the creations of the thinking mind as well as the body and soul.

Lastly, Aviam Soifer thanked His Highness for educating everyone at the panel and in the audience, and asked the last two questions, the first being whether Samoan culture put an emphasis on obligation and rights, or groups and individuals. Tuiatua Tamasese, after a bit of thought, brought up his previous point that reciprocity is a foundation of Samoan society, and that even if you rule over people, you must reciprocate their efforts. Soifer ended the questioning session with one last query about recognizing a paradox but never trying to resolve it. His Highness answered eloquently, saying that the problem with Western culture, for example, is dismissing God as a mystery, and the thought process in Samoan spirituality is to unravel that mystery.

Neubauer then thanked His Highness for his insight and officially called the session to a close.

Tuiatua Tamsese is a prolific writer – this is his third book, and he has also been published in numerous academic journals. It is clear that this new book will have an important role in the ongoing Pasifika dialogue about living the culture in an ever-changing world.

Story and photos by Tor O’Bergin, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu

Noah Solomon’s Efforts to Connect the Pasifik


The areas surrounding Waikiki and Le’ahi (Diamond Head) were famous for their fertility. Even up to the 20th century, lo’i kalo – taro patches – were abundant, and many families depended on these high-yielding croplands for food and sustenance.

Nowadays, as Waikiki’s hotel towers and shopping meccas dominate the shoreline, those days seem like worlds away. However the ho’okipa of days past may not be as bygone as it appears. Pasifika Foundation Hawai’i, a non-profit group involved in supporting and facilitating the self-determined efforts of the Pacific’s Native peoples, is exploring a re-vision of Hawaii’s current tourism model.

Its current effort, the Community-Based Host Visitor Project (CBHV), seeks to provide Native Hawaiian communities with new, community-based ways to participate in Hawaii’s visitor industry. Noah Solomon, data specialist at Pasifika Foundation Hawaii (PFH), explains that they seek to redefine the existing tourism paradigm in a way that puts the focus on native Hawaiian communities and puts the host culture back into the host-visitor equation. “We are exploring ways in which to manage this, because we want the main focus to be on the hosts and what they want to and are willing to offer,” Solomon explains. “The host communities will be the ones to decide how they may or may not want to engage with visitors.”

Noah has been collecting information about Hawaiian cultural practitioners who possess cultural knowledge and are willing to host and educate visitors, and is locating areas on the islands where there are many of these potential participants. “I like to meet people willing to share stories – those who have a regard for the progression of humankind, who are making a difference in the world by sharing their gifts with others.” In his interaction with some cultural practitioners, Solomon says that they’ve encountered some hesitation from those who’ve seen how in many ways tourism has misrepresented and exploited Hawaiian culture.

PFH’s ideal outcome would create a community-focused effort that pulls a community together to provide a rewarding host and visitor experience with the potential to provide sustainability to the community. He explains that other Pacific island groups such as Samoa and Tonga still welcome visitors as a community and that 50 years ago their work in Hawaii would have been much easier. “We as Hawaiians have suffered a lapse of cultural knowledge and teachings, so their passage to succeeding generations has declined. That’s why we are taking extra care in preserving what we still have.”

The next phase of PFH’s CHBV project will involve the creation of a pilot web-based interface that serves to connect visitors and host communities. If the pilot interface proves successful, it will be ready for wider implementation and marketing in 2-3 years.

While final plans may not be realized for awhile, Solomon states that if 20 tourists a day opt to travel outside of Waikiki for a hosted experience, rather than, say, visiting Pearl Harbor, then it would be a good day. Visitors may still be able to discover the old Hawaii that still thrives outside of history books and b&w postcards.
Solomon is also an undergrad Hawaiian Studies major at UH Manoa and host of a Hawaiian-language music radio show broadcast Sunday afternoons on KTUH.

from Hawaii RED Magazine
story by: Lynn Koch
photos by: Olivier Koning

Tenth Festival of Pacific Arts Opens in Pago Pago


On 22 July 2008, the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts opened in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Guests were welcomed with traditional ava ceremony and mats.

Men and women, young and old played their respective roles in the official welcome ceremony for delegates to the Tenth Festival of Pacific Arts in American Samoa yesterday morning.

While the men were busy preparing for the ava ceremony (kava ceremony), the women were getting ready to display their finely woven mats.

Boys and girls also pitched in, taking their place beside their elders to help in welcoming guests to their shores.

Despite a downpour during the ceremony, the beautiful array of colourful outfits worn by the hosts and different groups from participating countries brightened the ceremony and kept spirits high.

Men in traditional dress took part in the ava ceremony after which women displayed their fine weaving.

As is the tradition, the first cup of ava was poured on the ground to mark appreciation and respect for the earth, the provider of wealth and good health.

Each guest of honour was presented with a coconut shell filled with ava as a sign of welcome. All the delegations were then offered a dried root of the ava plant as a token of appreciation from the hosts.

Wearing traditional American Samoan dress made from woven pandanus, Kalasa Atuatasi, wife of a local matai (chief), led the women’s ceremony with a Samoan chant.

The women proceeded to offer guests gifts of finely woven pandanus mats in an age-old custom called ‘fa’alelega-pepe’. The mats, woven by women from all over the territory, were presented to each participating country as a mark of respect and welcome.

Atuatasi said the custom of ‘fa’alelega-pepe’ involves women who weave the fine mats in preparation for a ceremony fit for a king. The finely woven mats used to be the main currency of the people of the land before dollars and cents were introduced.

“The value of the mats depends on how finely they are woven and how old they are, or how many hands they have passed through. When we present the fine mats we chant in our native tongue, praising the work that has been done and saying thank you for them.”

The tradition of “fa’alelega” is passed from one generation to the next.

Atuatasi says despite not having village societies to help preserve some of these practices, the island is lucky because the government has allocated funds to help preserve customs and traditions.

“Although there are certain things that change, the value of these mats remains. You can’t avoid change. Some things are replaced with more modern things but the value behind why we continue these customs still remains. The important thing is to keep the value of our cultures intact.”

Work on the mats presented at yesterday’s opening ceremony began four years ago, just after the last Festival of Pacific Arts in Palau in 2004.

“Because so much time and effort is put into making these mats, there’s a lot of value placed on them and we present them to our guests as a token of our appreciation.”

The 27 participating Pacific Island Countries and Territories include: American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

From the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)

Te Vaka to Perform at Coronation in Tonga and Olympic Games in Beijing


A lot has happened since Te Vaka, a 10 piece group of musicians and dancers, moved from Auckland to Sydney last year including performing for the semi-Finals of the Rugby World Cup in Paris, releasing their 5th Album (signed to MGM/Planet in Australia) and winning Best Pacific Group and Best Pacific Album in the New Zealand Music Awards 2008. They have toured the world constantly since 1997 and opened for many music legends such as Ringo Starr and the AllStars (Gary Brooker – Procol Harum, Bob Geldof, Peter Frampton) to name a few – but this year might just top everything.

The band heads off to Tonga on the 29th of July to perform at the King’s coronation where royalty from all over the world are expected to attend.

Directly after that they will fly to China to perform at the Olympic Games in Beiijing. They will perform 5 times at the Olympic Games, including being part of the opening celebrations and finale.

This is a very exciting time for Te Vaka, who over 11 years of touring and 35 countries have gained themselves the reputation of being the one of the premier Pasifika performance groups on the planet.

Pacific NGOs Shut out of Forum Meeting


The NGOs who are members of the Pacific Islands Alliance of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO) expressed their disappointment at not being granted access to the meeting.

SUVA, FIJI —— Regional non-governmental organisations claim they were shut out of today’s Forum Officials Committee (FOC) meeting at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva.

FOC is the governing body of the Forum Secretariat. It endorses the work programme and budget for the Secretariat and prepares the agenda for the annual summit of Pacific Leaders.

The NGOs who are members of the Pacific Islands Alliance of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO) expressed their disappointment at not being granted access to the meeting.

Pacific Regional Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC) head Tupou Vere said this is the second time that PIANGO’s application been declined.

PIANGO has been giving the Pacific Regional Non-State Actor (PRNSA) consultative status with the forum processes.

“The application for accreditation was declined at the eleventh hour,” Ms Vere said.

Executive Director of the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI) Rex Horoi said, “when our region is striving for good governance and transparency, here we have regional NGOs shut out of important meetings that will determine the future and destinies of our peoples and Governments are making decisions without community input.”

“We are not enemies of the Pacific nor of its governments but have a common vision and goal-that is the prosperous future of our peoples and the sustained preservation of our environment,” added Nilesh Goundar of Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Susana Tuisawau of the Pacific Foundation for the Advancement of Women has called on governments to ensure they draw on wider views and experience when discussing the Pacific Plan, which is supposed to benefit citizens of this region.

Setareki Macanawai of Pacific Disability Forum echoed same sentiments “we call upon Pacific Forum leaders and officials to be sincere in their commitments in engaging civil society in forum policy processes as was decided by leaders in Auckland 2004.”

However, PACNEWS was informed that an application was received from the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (PIANGO) to attend the Forum Officials Committee meeting, but it was rejected by members.

“The criteria clearly explain that all applications will be put to members for their approval. If they don’t, then that’s it, a senor Forum Secretariat official told PACNEWS.

Key issues to be discussed by the committee include progress to date on implementation of the Forum Leaders’ “2007 Vavau Decisions on he Pacific Plan” and proposed future priorities for the region.

From Pacnews

Samoan Environmental Hero Dies


Ulu Taufa‘asisina Tusaga
Paramount Talking Chief of Tafua, Savai‘i, Samoa

Ulu Taufa‘asisina Tusaga Paramount Talking Chief of Tafua, Savai‘i, Samoa

High Chief Ulu Taufa’asisina from Tafua, Savai’i, a world renowned environmentalist and an indigenous peoples representative passed away on Friday last week, signaling the end of an era in Savaii’s fight to protect its forests.

Taufa’asisina shot to fame back in the 1990s when he courageously honored a pledge made on his father’s deathbed to protect the rainforest of his home, the Tafua village.

He resisted the loggers for over a decade, despite the village’s need for revenue.

Chief Ulu has also stood for the rights of Tafua villagers to make their own decisions and control their own destinies. He is cofounder of Fa’asao Savai’i, an indigenous conservation organization working to protect the environment and culture of the island of Savai’i.

In 1992 Taufasisina was awarded the Seacology Environment Prize, perhaps the most esteemed environment prize outside of the Nobel, to be awarded to international activists.

The fale in Tafua village where the Samoan 
indigenous environmental/cultural preservation 
organization, Fa’asao Savai‘i Society, was 
founded in 1991.

The fale in Tafua village where the Samoan indigenous environmental/cultural preservation organization, Fa’asao Savai‘i Society, was founded in 1991.

Taufa’asisina is close friend to Botanist and Author Nafanua Paul Cox.

In his book, Nafanua, Cox regularly refers to Taufa’asisina as one of the saviours of Samoa’s forests.

Taufaasisina is most famous for his approach to conservation, one that is traditional and spiritual.

In a letter to the Swedish Forest Foundation Taufa’asisina said: “My forefathers had a dream. They had a dream that one day the land and the rain forest would be saved for eternity. They had a dream that the land and the sea would forever be well looked after, and not destroyed and distributed to other people. I share that dream. I believe that we can become masters of our destiny if we take care of our environment.”

– Cherelle Jackson, SamoaLive NewsLine

Ramsay Taum to receive transformational leadership award at East-West Center’s Spring Leadership Symposium.


Pasifika Foundation Hawai’i board president Ramsay Taum will be honored with an award for transformational leadership at the East-West Center’s second annual Spring Leadership Symposium.

The event will be held on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Wailana Room at the Imin International Conference Center. The East-West Center is located adjacent to the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus.

Ramsay Taum is Director of External Relations and Community Partnerships at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s School of Travel Industry Management (TIM) where he lectures on host cultural values in the work place. Mentored and trained by respected Hawaiian elders, he is a practitioner and instructor of several Native Hawaiian practices including ho‘oponopono (stress management and conflict resolution), lomi haha (body alignment) and Kaihewalu lua (Hawaiian combat/battle art).

As a recognized speaker and cultural specialist, he actively promotes environmental education and sustainability based on the Native Hawaiian
Ahupua’a management system.

Besides serving as president of Pasifika Foundation Hawai’i, Taum also serves on numerous local, state and national boards, community groups and advisory councils including the HTA Hawaiian Culture Advisory Group, the State Consortium of Integrative Health, and Pacific Islanders in Communication.

He is also the Co-facilitator of Sustain Hawaii, a non-profit group dedicated to developing and promoting sustainable solutions in Hawaii.

Hawaii’s Te Lumanaki O Tokelau Returns Triumphant from Aotearoa


The 42 children, youth and elders from Oahu’s Tokelauan cultural organization – Te Lumanaki O Tokelau – have recently returned from a trip to Aotearoa (New Zealand), an experience that provided opportunities for cultural sharing with the Tokelau communities there.

The focus of the trip was the annual Tokelau Easter Festival in Wellington, which began in the 1970s as informal rugby games and has grown into a major cultural event including a competition of traditional dances of Tokelau.

This was the first time that the Tokelauans of Hawaii have traveled to Aotearoa to participate in the festival events and to showcase their dedication to learning and revitalizing traditional Tokelau dance in Hawaii.

They were surprised and thrilled to be awarded the Cup for their dance performances at the Po Fatele competition.

For Te Lumanaki O Tokelau, the opportunity to interact with Aotearoa’s thriving Tokelauan community – just over 6,800 people – was a focal point of the trip.

The annual Easter event there reflects the traditional components of fakaTokelau – the core foundation being family – and the opportunity to connect with far-flung members of the Pasifika Tokelau family was deeply significant.

Tokelau, located about 300 miles north of Samoa, consists of four islands, three of which are coral atolls. The fourth island, Olohega, was ““claimed” by American Eli Hutchinson Jennings in 1856. It was later annexed by the U.S. government and today is politically considered part of American Samoa and known as “Swains Island.” However, Tokelau is still pursuing the return of Olohega.

Currently, about 1,000 people of Tokelauan descent live in Hawai’i, many of them having arrived here in the 1950s. Nearly 95 percent of Tokelauans in Hawaii can trace family roots to Olohega.

The Jennings family ran a copra plantation on Olohega, but poor living conditions and lack of recognition of their sovereign rights on their ancestral island home led many workers to leave. Many eventually settled in Wahiawa in central Oahu.

The Tokelauans in Wahiawa, after a visit from a youth group from Tokelau in 2004, started their own school — Te Lumanaki O Tokelau. Up to 80 youths meet every Saturday at to learn language, song, dance and the history of the islands.

In 2005, Te Taki Tokelau Community Inc. was founded to serve as a Board of Directors for Te Lumanaki. A Council of Elders was also established to serve as cultural consultants for Te Taki.

The establishment of Te Taki and Te Lumanaki have strengthened and invigorated Hawaii’s Tokelau community and boosted the self-esteem of the children who participate in the cultural learning activities. The Saturday meetings are now go beyond the teaching aspects, and include guest speakers about various issues of importance to the community. Through Te Lumanaki’s activities, the Tokelauan community has made its presence more visible in their host community and throughout Hawai‘i. Te Lumanaki has been invited to perform at a variety of venues, including Makahiki Pasifika, the Maohi Native Cultural Festival, the East West Center Annual International Festival and the Annual Wahiawa Pineapple Festival.

“The journey, for us, has been for reuniting the children of Olohega with the other children of Tokelau,” says Betty Ickes, the Executive Director of Te Taki Tokelau Community. “Coming here to the cultural festival in 2008, the children – the lumanaki – can learn from the generations here in Aotearoa . . . and I have to say that the educational aspects of our journey here have been tremendous. It’s been quite significant.”

UN General Secretary Comments on Decolonization


Decolonization one of “PROUDEST CHAPTERS” in United Nations History
07 March 2008 – Source:

All over the world, hundreds of millions of people had exercised their right to self-determination and achieved self-government, and facilitating that process was “one of the proudest chapters of our Organization’s history” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this morning, as he opened the current session of the Special Committee on decolonization.

That chapter was still being written, he said, and until the status of the 16 remaining Non-Self Governing Territories was satisfactorily resolved, the ideals of the General Assembly Declaration on Decolonization would continue to be unfulfilled. As the end of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism approached, he looked to the Committee to advance the process.

Recalling Tokelau’s referendum last year on the question of self-government in free association with New Zealand, its administrating Power, he said, although it had fallen short of the two-thirds majority needed for a change in status, the fact that the people of Tokelau had freely expressed their will marked an important step forward. The referendum stood out for the constructive spirit with which the Government of New Zealand and the people of Tokelau approached the question.

“Tokelau is a commendable example of what can be achieved when there is political will and close cooperation,” he said, expressing his hope that the experience would inspire other administering Powers and Territories to find innovative and practical ways to advance the decolonization process. He commended the Committee’s focus on productive cooperation with the administering Powers, and urged transparent and creative dialogue to ensure the views of the remaining Territories were heard going forward. ( For full text of statement, see Press Release SG/SM/11440. )

In his opening remarks, Chairperson Marty N. Natalegawa ( Indonesia ) said decolonization historically had been among the most challenging mandates of the United Nations. Indeed, since the Organization’s founding, nearly 750 million people had exercised their right to self-determination, and more than 80 once-colonized Territories had gained independence.

Despite those achievements, decolonization remained “unfinished business”, and he urged Members to seek effective ways to accelerate that process, particularly in resolving questions of “permanent” international political status in accordance with General Assembly resolutions. There was an urgent need to establish a compelling basis for the global community’s approach to decolonizing the Territories that would directly involve all concerned.

“We need to approach each case with an open mind,” and build on available options to bring about a results-oriented evolution of positions for moving forward, he said. Progress required considering each Territory on a case-by-case basis, and he urged Members to make genuine efforts to address the concerns –- even passions -– of all relevant stakeholders: the global community, administering Powers and the people of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Commending New Zealand’s example with Tokelau, he encouraged other administering Powers to follow suit in pursuing meaningful collaboration with the Committee. He also urged Members to use the annual regional seminar on decolonization, to be held in May in the Asia and Pacific region, as a forum to explore innovative ideas.

In closing, he recounted Indonesia’s experience of declaring independence from colonial rule, saying that the country’s 1955 hosting of the Asian-African Conference in Bandung “laid a new foundation for the cause of decolonization across the globe”. Indonesia had come a long way since embarking on its path and had kept the Bandung spirit alive.

Taking the floor in general statement, the representative of Papua New Guinea pointed out that the history of the United Nations was underpinned by the decolonization process, and he echoed calls to innovatively resolve outstanding issues around the 16 remaining Territories. Referring to New Zealand’s efforts with Tokelau, he called on other administering Powers to also be engaged in the Committee’s work.

The representative of Dominica stressed that, with only two years remaining until the end of the International Decade, the Committee must stimulate the decolonization process. Thus far, its review had been insufficient, and it was left wanting for analysis on the ground, particularly in small island Territories. He urged taking steps to implement the case-by-case work plan, and encouraged Members to be forward looking in developing indicators of success. “The clock is ticking,” he said.

On territories that were the subject of sovereignty disputes, he said debate would intensify in the coming year, and he was concerned that such discussion would take attention away from small island Territories. He urged the creation of an open-ended working group for small island Non-Self Governing Territories, which would resume the functions of a former sub-committee on territories. Such a group could be accommodated using existing resources.

Supporting that idea, the representative of Saint Lucia also focused on the fact that most administrating Powers had discontinued their cooperation on the decolonization issue, and the extent of information and analysis in the Territories was not enough for States to offer real solutions to move the process forward. Development of the case-by-case work plan had been “effectively stalled”, and unless implementation efforts were intensified, progress would be elusive.

In other matters, the Committee elected Marty N. Natalegawa ( Indonesia ) as its Chairman, Luc Joseph Okio ( Congo ) and Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz ( Cuba ) as Vice Chairmen, and Bashar Ja’afari ( Syria ) as Rapporteur.

Approving its revised organization of work for the year ( documents A/AC.109/2007/L.1 and 2 ), the Committee deferred its decision on the meeting schedule for its substantive session in June. The Chairman expressed his intention to convene one or two informal meetings to consider issues related to the organization of the next regional seminar, typically held in mid-May, around the Week of Solidarity with peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

The Special Committee on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples ( also known as the Special Committee on Decolonization or the Committee of 24 ) is the focal point for the implementation of the Declaration on Decolonization.

The representatives of Cuba, Congo, Fiji, Syria and Ethiopia also spoke. The representatives of Thailand, Burundi, Lebanon, Spain, Turkey, Malaysia and Argentina participated as observers.

The Committee will reconvene at a date to be announced.

Tuna stolen from Pacific waters, says Greenpeace


Greenpeace has launched a competition inviting Pacific people to name three areas of international waters as proposed marine reserves.

In between Pacific Island countries Papua New Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia and the Cook Islands – are three large areas of international waters that belong to everyone.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans Team Leader Nilesh Goundar said from these international waters the Pacific’s greatest resource, tuna, is being stolen, with minimal or no benefits to Island nations.

“Greenpeace is working to protect these areas from overfishing and tuna pirates, by pushing for them to be closed to foreign fishing fleets,” Mr Goundar added.

The three proposed marine reserves cover extensive areas that include biologically rich undersea mountains, migration routes of tuna species, habitat of endangered leatherback turtles and breeding areas of skipjack, albacore and bigeye tuna.

“This is an opportunity for the people in the Pacific to draw that line in the waves and enter the competition to name these future marine reserves.”

Marine reserves are areas of the sea that are fully protected from human activities and are like national parks for the oceans.

Anyone can enter the competition. They can send an inspiring name for any of the three areas, and say why they have chosen that name for their Pacific heritage. Entries can be posted to Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Private Mail Bag, Suva or email us at

Mr Goundar said in order to reverse the current decline in the health of oceans worldwide, and in the Pacific where bigeye and yellow fin tuna stocks are in trouble, Greenpeace is calling for 40% of the oceans to be protected by marine reserves in addition to 50% reduction in tuna fishing.

“It is undisputable that Marine reserves benefit sea life by protecting breeding areas, ocean habitats and fish that have been unsustainably targeted by fishing. We have the chance to create three tabu areas in the international waters that are sandwiched between Pacific Island nations, which will become marine reserves – the first ever in international waters. Tabu areas are not new to the Pacific as the peoples of the Pacific have already managed their oceans sustainably for thousands of years.

The Greenpeace Oceans team will be at the Pacifika festival in Auckland, New Zealand from March 6-8, 2008 to promote the competition.

Pasifika Foundation Hawaii Receives ANA Grant


Pasifika Foundation Hawai’i (PFH) has been selected for funding by the Administration for Native Americans in support of their Community-based Host-Visitor project, which seeks to create a new paradigm for Hawaii’s leading economic sector, tourism. Through the creation of a CBHV network in Hawai’i, PFH will work with kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) communities to provide new avenues for access to, participation in, and control of one segment of that industry.

PFH received $118,464 for Phase 2 of the CHBV project, which involves completing an asset survey, GIS mapping, and nexus assessment of hosts and sites to determine which communities currently have a strong enough presence of Maoli place and culture to offer a meaningful experience and exchange for both host and visitor, and to identify communities that may wish to be part of a test CBHV network.

In the prevailing approach to tourism in Hawai‘i, the government has assumed the “host” role for western-based models of tourism development, and acted as mediator between off-island investment corporations and the local communities. This investment is touted as necessary to encourage growth and economic benefits; however, the cultural, environmental and social integrity of the tourism-development locale – Hawai’i – has not been preserved under this system.

In response to the identified issues and desired outcomes voiced by Maoli communities, the CBHV project seeks to empower communities at the grassroots level to set the agenda, delineating for themselves what they wish to offer to visitors and how that will be achieved. The objective is to bring true benefit to the community – as defined by that community.

The CBHV Phase 2 project will begin to the groundwork for the implementation of a successful CHBV network program that will be adaptable to the needs of various Maoli communities and will ultimately be a self-sustaining tool of community well-being.

For more information, contact PFH’s Executive Director, Ana Currie at or Board President Ramsay Taum at