made in NiuZilla

2011 WCC Pacific Advisory Group Elections
March 25, 2011, 7:17 am
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2011 Pacific Advisory Group Elections
March 25, 2011, 7:04 am
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WCC Pacific Advisory Group Elections 2011

Tongan King says democracy is ‘natural’
November 28, 2010, 7:28 am
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King George Tupou V says he fully supports the growth of democracy in Tonga.

Excerpt from the ABC News website:

“I’ve always wanted to do this for the country,” the Tongan monarch said.

King Tupou says Tonga’s new political landscape will be slightly different to the majority of constitutional monarchies.

“Officially the sovereign’s powers [will] remain unchanged,” he said.

“The difference in future is that I shall not be able to exercise any of my powers at will, and that all the sovereign’s powers must be exercised solely on the advice of the prime minister, in most things, and in judicial matters the law lords will advise on the exercise of power.”


Following what are known as the 16/11 riots, it may appear the King is forced to accept democracy to prevent similar events. Perhaps the King is saving face by supporting an inevitable push for a democratic system.

Recent coverage within our mainstream media, of course, normalise the concept of democracy without question; surely if the people have less power the monarchical system cannot be good? Growing up within a democratic paradigm obsessed with the majority, I too naturally lean towards a democratic viewpoint. However, I do not wish, nor have the time to dive into the depths of this subject right now.

Where am I going with this? Well, I watched recent Tagata Pasifika coverage of the Tongan elections and was surprised to hear how some Tongan people felt the monarchy was a part of their identity as Tongans. I cannot remember his name, but I remember a pannelist on a Tongan election debate saying he welcomed a change, but did not want what he identified with as a Tongan to be taken away.

Fair. Although I cannot sympathise, I can empathise with holding onto the traditional cues of cultural identification…

Back to the King.

Quite frankly is he being forced to support a change that will diminish his official power in terms of governance in his Kingdom?

In an interview with Radio Australia King George says he didn’t feel any pressure “from below”, but felt more pressure from his “own class” to keep the monarchical system strongly in place. Wait, so the King wants democracy. With his plum-mouthed accent, which can sometimes come off as having a blase attitude towards monarchy matters, he announces that he would not have supported a move to diminish his power if he had been fully learned in a Tongan education system.

King George becomes the people’s hero by voicing his support to give more power to the People’s Representatives in Parliament. I am pleasantly surprised by his willingness to move towards a balanced change. Recent developments, apart from the odd dodgy court ruling, seem promising in that the Tongan monarchy identity remains intact while the people are allowed to exercise more power over who is well, in power.

In the radio interview the King continues to earn favour by quoting a phrase which literally means “every Tongan has a road to the Palace” which is cute, whether it will be translated into Tonga’s newly formed democratic Parliament is yet to be seen.

Right now, the people seem to want change – and the King agrees.

TVNZ fined over Dreaver gang story
March 9, 2010, 11:05 pm
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Excerpt from online NZ herald article:

A One News item that claimed Samoa was “awash with drugs and guns” breached broadcast standards on balance, fairness, and accuracy, the Broadcasting Standards Authority has ruled.

The authority has upheld a complaint from Samoa’s Attorney-General about the item, which screened on April 6 last year and was repeated in an extended form on Tagata Pasifika on April 9.

One News introduced the item as an exclusive about a Pacific paradise “awash with guns and drugs” where criminal gangs were building up a “terrifying arsenal”.

The authority ordered TVNZ to broadcast a summary of the decision on One News and Tagata Pasifika within a month of the decision and to pay complainant costs of $5000 and Crown costs of $2000.




Ex-minister’s trial a spectacular fall from grace
January 25, 2010, 10:19 am
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NZ HEARALD court reporter Andrew Koubaridis looks at last year’s high-profile trials and Taito Phillip Field’s is undoubtedly one of them.

Taito Phillip Field is the first New Zealand politician to be convicted of bribery and corruption. Photo / Paul Estcourt


Young pacific reporter honoured
January 10, 2010, 4:35 am
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Journo mover and shaker Vaimoana Tapaleao, 23, has had a busy year reporting pacific and general news for the Herald. Her excellent coverage of the Pacific tsunami showed up a few oldies. With a keen sense for news and an ability to treat stories with great integrity it is not surprising that Vaimoana has been honoured for highlighting Aotearoa’s close relationship with the Pacific.


Herald reporter honoured

December 3, 2009

Vaimoana Tapaleao has been honoured by the Human Rights Commission for her feature on NZ families affected by the Tongan ferry tragedy. Photo / Greg Bowker

Herald reporter Vaimoana Tapaleao has been recognised by the Human Rights Commission for her piece on New Zealand families grieving for lives lost in the sinking of Tongan ferry Princess Ashika.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said the 23-year-old’s four-page feature “highlighted the strong familial ties between New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, and the way the pain of this Pacific tragedy directly impacted on New Zealand”.

The feature ran in the Weekend Herald on November 7.

Tongan ferry disaster: Farewell to loved ones lost at sea

Nov 7, 2009

Mourners at a memorial church service held at the Mangere Tongan Methodist Church. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Three months ago, the ferry Princess Ashika sank in heavy seas on an overnight sailing in Tonga.

Seventy-four of those on board died. Two bodies were recovered – the rest went down with the vessel, which remains beneath 110m of water, beyond recovery. Five weeks ago the Samoan tsunami disaster pushed the Tongan ferry tragedy out of the headlines. For this special report Vaimoana Tapaleao talked to the families of ferry victims with ties to New Zealand, so that they would not be forgotten.

Read rest of the feature online <HERE>

Inquiry sceptism – reporting on Tonga
December 14, 2009, 9:49 pm
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Any qualms about the recent coverage of the Tonga ferry disaaster inquiry?

Official inquiry into Tongan ferry sinking begins

Tongan PM claims misreporting

Sceptism over value of Tongan disaster inquiry

Hunger strike woman seek dismissal of Tongan PM