Page 1

Deport order

Volume 5 Issue 158

By Matthew Theunissen matthew.theunissen@rnz.

Auckland, NEW ZEALAND (RNZ): A Tongan woman who became paralysed after undergoing surgery in New Zealand is to be deported, despite her doctor saying sending her back to Tonga would be a death sentence. In its decision, the Immigration and Protection Tribunal accepted that there were “exceptional humanitarian circumstances” arising from Taipaleti Vaeatangitau’s condition. But it found that allowing her and her family to stay in New Zealand wouldn’t be in the public interest because it was contrary to their visa conditions and would be a huge cost to the public health system here. The tribunal was told that Taipaleti, 48, fell and was injured while playing netball in Tonga in March 2015. Her injury worsened and after a few months she wasn’t able to move, so her doctor referred her to a neurosurgeon in Auckland. She and her husband, Loni Vaeatangitau, told the tribunal that they sold their belongings to pay for flights and in December 2015 came to New Zealand with the youngest two of their six children. The neurosurgeon found that her spinal cord had been severely compressed, reduced to a fraction of its normal diameter. “The neurosurgeon’s

Thursday - January 16, 2020

opinion was that the wife would become paraplegic within a few months without intervention, but that there was a possibility that she could be better with surgery,” the decision said. The doctor said he warned that there was a risk the surgery would cause paraplegia, although this is something the couple dispute. The neurosurgeon asked his counterparts in Tonga whether the Tongan government would pay the $27,000 for the operation, but this was refused. So the family agreed to pay for the expensive surgery themselves. In February 2016 she underwent the operation and, unfortunately, woke to find she was paraplegic. “The husband now provides the wife with fulltime care. Family members fund the hire of a bed and a hoist and sling to transfer the wife to and from a wheelchair. The appellants’ youngest children live with them and attend school.” The family’s visas expired in June 2018 so they applied to the tribunal for permission to stay in New Zealand. Taipaleti’s doctor sent a note in support of their case: “ wish to confirm that all the vital equipment, specialist care and ongoing care that [the wife] critically needs for her daily care are not available in Tonga. Therefore to send her back to Tonga is like putting a death toll on her already debilitated life.” Her doctor in Auckland had similar views. The tribunal concluded

that the case did meet the threshold of exceptional humanitarian circumstances, however, “the tribunal must have regard to the integrity of immigration instructions, which require applicants for temporary and resident visas to be of an acceptable standard of health”. “The tribunal acknowledges that the wife’s medical treatment, care and rehabilitation in Tonga will not be as good as in New Zealand and that, if the appellants are deported, her quality of life will be diminished. “However, the wife does not qualify for a resident visa or temporary visa because she does not have an acceptable standard of health. The appellants held limited visas for specific medical treatment, but now seek to remain in New Zealand to take advantage of medical and social benefits clearly not intended under the conditions of those visas.”


Taipaleti Vaeatangitau before she was paralysed. Photo: Supplied our Tongan community and anyone that’s been in Tonga knows about the lack of support that we’ve got there,” she said. “I’m worried for my mother’s life if she goes back to Tonga,

that’s why we’re trying our best to have her stay here with us so we can help.” In addition, the Taipaletis’ 17-year-old daughter has just been made a prefect at Tamaki College

and wants to study law in New Zealand, but she, too, is now set to be deported. The tribunal granted the couple visitor visas until 31 January, to give them time to prepare for deportation.

Decision a shock Taipaleti’s daughter, Meleane Vaeatangitau, said the tribunal’s decision came as a complete shock. “We did our best to provide everything they wanted and more. We’ve been waiting for more than four years to get this result and it was really heartbreaking.” Despite Tonga having dedicated and talented medical staff and carers, Meleane said there was simply not the resources or infrastructure there to care for her mother. “It’s nothing new to

INSIDE THIS ISSUE KOLOA is alive: Lady Fielakepa Curates Her First Exhibition In Hong Kong

Page 02 - January 16, 2020

Local News

Nuku’alofa Times

High risk of cyclone developing

Nuku’alofa (Nuku’alofa Times): Tongans have been warned to prepare for cyclones over the next two weeks, with one likely to hit the Kingdom over the next few days. The Tonga Meteorological Service warns that’s the next 2 to 3 weeks could see 1 or 2 tropical cyclones develop over the South-west Pacific and could affect Tonga. During every cyclone season there are active periods in which potential for tropical cyclone formation is increased. These active periods come around every 30 to 60days on average and lasts for 2 to 3 weeks. The last active period of the cyclone season occurred between 21 December 2019 to the first week of January 2020 which saw Tropical Cyclone SARAI (Cat1) cross between Tongatapu and Ha’apai on New Year’s Day. This next active period starts today Monday 13th and should last until early February. As seen in the Satellite imagery below, an increasing Tropical Weather activity is brewing over the areas of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Regions. The boundaries of the orange rectangular box show the area of where the next Tropical Cyclone is expected to develop from. Currently Cyclone Tino, formerly Tropical Depression 04F, is located within this square and is movinf east southeast, moving through Fiji later in the week and could threaten Tongatapu by the weekend. Director Tonga MET Ofa Fa’anunu said Tongans and all those in the Kingdom must prepare. “For Tonga, this week the weather will be very warm and humid with north to northwest winds early in the week and then will become more active with heavy rain and

ABOVE The South-West Pacific Region, showing Tonga with reference to the areas of the expected tropical system development this week. BELOW TD04F has become Cyclone Tino and is expected to come close to Southern Tonga (Tongatapu and ‘Eua) by Saturday 18 January 2020 (over the weekend).

tropical systems/cyclones development later in the week,” he said. “Tonga should prepare for a cyclone this week with an 85% chance of it becoming severe. Remember to stay tuned to the weather forecast on radio, on the web at or Facebook on the Tonga Met

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Office page. “To be prepared, firstly, you need to know your surroundings and the cyclone risks that exist in your area, stay informed by getting the latest weather information on a daily basis. If a cyclone warning is in force pay more attention. “Know you nearest

evacuation centre and how to get your family there in the event of a major cyclone or associated hazards and please alert your neighbours when you know there is a cyclone warning in force.” Meanwhile, some parts of Fiji were already feeling the rain and the winds on Monday and Tuesday.

Nuku’alofa Times

January 16, 2020- Page 03

Local News

Koloa on show in Hong Kong

The World’s Authority On Tongan Textiles: The Dowager Lady Fielakepa Curates Her First Exhibition By Oliver Giles Hong Kong (Hong Kong Tatler): Tunakaimanu Fielakepa, the Dowager Lady Fielakepa, is the world’s foremost authority on koloa, an intricate and ancient textile-making practice from the Pacific island of Tonga. Now, for the first time, she’s curated an exhibition abroad—and it’s in Hong Kong In Tonga, there are long-held traditions about wedding presents. “From the boy’s side, the family give lots of pigs and food to the bride’s family,” explains the 83year-old, a stateswoman of the Polynesian island nation. “And the girl’s side present koloa to the groom’s family.” Koloa is an overarching term for textiles made by Tongan women. The practice takes many forms, including ngatu, a cloth normally made from bark and inscribed with intricate patterns and symbols in dark inks; ta’ovala, mats woven from strips of pandanus leaves; and kafa, rope-like creations of braided coconut fibre or, sometimes, human hair. Certain koloa are saved for one-off ceremonial occasions, then stowed away; others, such as ta’ovala mats, are worn multiple times a week. “They are not made to be exhibited—they are private, family things that we use,” says Fielakepa. “They have a purpose— we make them to wear to church on Sunday, and for occasions such as weddings and funerals.” But last year, for one of the first times ever, koloa was exhibited as art. Cosmin Costinas, director of Hong Kong’s Para Site art space, and Vivian Ziherl, artistic director of Frontier Imaginaries in Amsterdam, travelled to multiple Pacific islands in late 2018, when they met Lady Fielakepa. “We met her at the Langafonua Centre, which is an association for promoting the arts of women that she is very much involved in,” recalls Costinas. The pair persuaded Lady Fielakepa to exhibit works from her extensive collection of koloa, some of which have been passed through her family for

Lady Tuna (top left) and with Cosmin Costinas, and Vivian Ziherl at the Hong Kong show, which includes the different Tongan koloa shown here. Photography: Mike Pickles for Hong Kong Tatler

generations, and a show was held at Langafonua last August. “It opened my eyes,” says Lady Fielakepa. “They had the ngatu hanging from the wall and the ceiling [ngatu are normally displayed flat]. It was beautiful.” ACROSS THE SEAS Now, in an unprecedented move, the exhibition has moved to Para Site. It is the first time Lady Fielakepa’s personal collection has travelled outside Tonga, and the first major international exhibition to present koloa as contemporary art. “Koloa is not craft, it’s not a different kind of work— it is part of the realm of contemporary artistic practice,” explains Costinas.

“The exhibition also features three female artists from around the Pacific—Tanya Edwards, Nikau Hindin and Vaimaila Urale. But these artists are not in the exhibition to translate koloa into the field of contemporary art or to use as reference points—they are on equal footing to the koloa in the show. They all bring different things to the show, and their work references multiple layers of knowledge in the Pacific.” Although it was only recently that Lady Fielakepa saw koloa as art, she is similarly insistent that these textiles are a contemporary and not historic practice. “Koloa is alive,” she says. “We still make them; we still use them.” It was also important to Lady Fielakepa, Costinas and Ziherl that the exhibition presents koloa specifically as the work of women, so the exhibition is titled Koloa: Women,

Art and Technology. “Textile art has historically been dismissed for two rather obvious reasons,” explains Costinas. “One is that it was seen as something that was done by women, so from the perspective of men—who were the ones writing art history—that was reason enough to exclude it. Second, from a Eurocentric point of view, this was (Turn to Page 5)

Page 04 - January 16, 2020

Change now

The results of the Secondary School Entrance (Class 6), the Form 5, 6 and Form 7 exams in 2019 are disappointing. We can not kid ourselves and say we are happy. Far from it. There must be an urgent review to see what is wrong. Are we doing enough in school? Are we teaching in the proper language? Should we change everything to teach in English? Can we change our priorities? I had stated to a number of friends over the years that Tonga needs to change its teaching language from Tongan to Englsh - starting right from Class 1. Make everything to be taught in English BUT have Tongan language classes included. Nuku’alofa Times believe that will chamge things and better prepare our children for further studies and work. We use English as a worldwide language. Tongan is only used in Tonga. We can protect our Tongan language that way too. Or make Tongan compulsory for all Tongan students so that they can take up the lessons in school. The others can decide if they want to take up Tongan as well. Looking at the pass rates per schoo once can easily pick out why Tonga High School has scored the highest marks in all the high school exams. Simply because they have set the standards. They teach Engish and speak it. Their teachers are also speaking the language quite fluently. And they have a Board that ensures the best is achieved. Compare that to schools like Saint Andrew’s High School, who teach their students in Tongan and expect them to do well in their exams - which are prepared in the English language. REALITY is things have to change now! The NUKU’ALOFA TIMES is published once a week for Tonga by NUKU’ALOFA TIMES MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS of Kolofo’ou, Tongatapu KINGDOM OF TONGA Associate Editor: ALFRED TORA Consultant: ILIESA TORA EMail: Phone: +676 8467762 Correspondences in Tonga, the Region and the World © 2019 Nuku’alofa TImes Media and Public Relations.


Nuku’alofa Times

China, Tonga vow to further strengthen cooperation

Suva, FIJI (Xinhua) A Chinese parliamentary delegation, led by Ding Zhongli, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), visited Tonga on January 8-11, seeking ways to strengthen the bilateral relations, in particular the parliamentary cooperation, between the two countries. During his stay in Tonga, Ding met with Tongan Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Lord Fakafanua. Ding said that Tonga is China’s good friend and good partner in the Pacific region. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 22 years ago, the two countries have enjoyed a good relationship, an increasingly enhanced mutual political trust, pragmatic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. China highly appreciates Tonga’s firm adherence to the oneChina policy, he said, adding that China is willing to better integrate the building of the Belt and Road Initiative with Tonga’s development strategies.

Ding also expressed China’s willingness to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Tonga in the fields such as legislative institutions, science and technology as well as basic research, aiming to push forward the bilateral ties to a new high and bring benefits to the two peoples. Ding also briefed them on the great achievements China has made over the past 70 years. For the Tongan part, they spoke highly of China’s achievements over the past 70 years, reaffirming their continuously upholding of the one-China policy. While thanking China for its support and assistance to the island country’s economic and social development over the past years, Tonga also appreciated the leading role China has played in dealing with global climate change. Tonga also voiced its active participation in building the Belt and Road Initiative, and is willing to help further develop the relations between China and the Pacific island countries.

Oceans reached record temperatures again in 2019

Wellington, NEW ZEALAND (RNZ): The heat in the world’s oceans reached a new record last year, reveals a new analysis. The authors - a team of US and Chinese scientists who compiled data from nearly 4000 sensors across the oceans - say it shows the irrefutable and accelerating heat of the planet. The analysis, published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, says the past five years have been the five warmest in recorded history. The oceans absorb most of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions, making them the clearest measure of climate change. Hotter oceans also lead to more severe storms, a rise in sea levels, and severely disrupts marine life. It said the rate of warming from 1987 to 2019 is four and a half times faster than from 1955 to 1986. Heating is distributed throughout the oceans, it said, but was most profound in the Southern ocean.


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Nuku’alofa Times

January 16, 2020 - Page 05

Koloa on show in Hong Kong (From page 3)

primarily associated with non-Western contexts, with countries that were colonised by Europe.” Koloa was victim to both of these prejudices. In Tonga, textiles were particularly important to women as they gave them agency. “The word ‘koloa’ translates most directly as ‘value’,” explains Ziherl. “In Tonga, there are men’s koloa and women’s koloa. Men’s koloa is men’s wealth—land. Women’s koloa is women’s wealth— textiles. It’s ultimately a currency because it’s something that can be exchanged and gifted.” Weddings are a key occasion for the trading of koloa. “Koloa don’t stay with you,” says Lady Fielakepa. “It’s always an exchange. Sometimes you make good ones and receive not so good ones, but that is life.” TRUE VALUE Over the past 80 years, Lady Fielakepa has seen koloa shift from being currency in and of itself to something that generates hard cash. “With modernisation has

come education,” she says. “To send your children to school, you pay school fees. Now, women make koloa to sell so that they can pay for school fees to help the husbands. “It’s a great asset, not only for school fees, but also to help the men with keeping the family. Now we have electricity in Tonga, we have to pay for that. We also have water that we have to pay for—something we didn’t pay for before.” Although she understands why some koloa must be sold, Lady Fielakepa is sad to see some of these textiles leave Tonga. “People from New Zealand, Australia and America have money and they come to Tonga and buy the best koloa,” she says. “My koloa are the most valuable to me because they are from my family, but there are [objectively] better koloa that have been sold.” She also advises families to always keep some textiles. “When they sell part of their koloa, they must keep a small amount. What if your grandson elopes with a young girl and gets married? There will be obligations.” Lady Fielakepa’s interest

in koloa began when she married in 1959 to a man who would inherit a noble title. “I was instructed by my aunties and my motherin-law that I had to start making ngatu because I was a married woman,” she recalls. “There are people with good hands for weaving, and I’m not one of them. I tried weaving the first time and I said to the woman who was behind me, ‘Can you come and take over?’ And I moved to the back.” Since then, when making koloa, Lady Fielakepa has fulfilled the role of instructor, guiding the groups of women making the textiles, which can number up to 18 women if the group is working on a large ngatu dozens of metres long. HIDDEN MESSAGES When Lady Fielakepa retired from her career as a teacher, she began researching the patterns that adorn ngatu barkcloth. “Each of the symbols is like a codex or index—it’s like cryptography,” says Ziherl. One herringbone-like pattern, Lady Fielakepa discovered, was originally

inspired by the footprints of the Tuli bird that snake across beaches in Tonga. Like the bird itself, this pattern is rare. If it features on a ngatu, it indicates that the owner is of high ranking. “The koloa link together the hierarchy of the social and political structure with the natural world,” says Ziherl. “It’s like a secret code.” This pattern is one of dozens Lady Fielakepa has deciphered. This show in Hong Kong may just be the start. “When we first met you promised that you would live to 100, so that we could tour the exhibition all across the world and have a really big book put together,” Ziherl reminds Lady Fielakepa, who laughs, then turns suddenly serious. “It was never in my dreams that this would happen,” she says. “The thing I’d like people to learn from this exhibition is that Tongan people can make beautiful koloa. Koloa make us feel we are Tongan. Koloa are our valuables, our customs, our heirlooms and we still use them. “Koloa is alive.” Show ends in February

Case moved to March 9

Page 06 - January 16, 2020

Lemoto Lemeki Manu

Nuku’alofa (Nuku’alofa Times): The man charged with causing the death of a local businessman in a road accident at the end of 2019 has had his case adjourned to March 9, to allow for Tonga Police to complete all investigations on the case. Lemoto Lemeki Manu, 33 years old of Pahu, has been charged with driving with negligence resulting in manslaughter, in relation to the death of the late Tausinga Taumoefolau in Fasi on December 28. Inspector Saimone Fifita told the Magistrate’s Court in Nuku’alofa on Monday, January 13, that they wanted the case adjourned to March 9 to allow them to complete other investigations related to the case. Meanwhile, appearing before Magistrate Salesi Mafi, the accused reaquested that he be transferred from Huatolitoli Prison, where he had been remanded for the last three weeks, to the Mental Unit at Vaiola Hospital, citing unfavourable conditions at the prison. But his request was turned down by Magistrate Mafi who ordered that Lemoto be taken back to Huatolitoli to await the trial. The trial is expected to be moved to the High Court when it is next called. Meanwhile, the late Tausinga’s body will be taken to Vava’u on January 16 for burial. Tausinga was a budding local businessman, leading Keitahi Limited, which had bought off the media company Taimi Media Network in 2019 and leased Molisi City in central Nuku’alofa also last year.

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Nuku’alofa Times

The late Tausinga Taumoefolau

27% pass rate for Form 5 exam

Nuku’alofa (Matangi Tonga): Only 27% of the 1,970 registered Form Five students passed the Tonga School Certificate (TSC) last year, the Ministry of Education and Training announced, releasing the 2019 results to schools on Monday. This is less than compared to 2018 where only 33% of 2,039 students passed. The students were from 30 schools, including 14 from Tongatapu and 16 from the outer islands. The standard pass is based on students passing English plus three best subjects at achieved grades. Tonga High School was the best performing school with an 86% pass rate.

It also had the most consistent improvement rate since 2016. St Joseph Community College was the most improved school with a 31% pass rate. Liahona High School had the most candidates, with 233 enrolled in the TSC. The pass rate for 2019 has been less than 50% for most of the major examination levels including the Secondary School Entrance Exam, Tonga School Certificate, and Tonga Form Six Certificate 2019. However, Form Seven students fared better with 68% passing the Tonga National Form Seven Certificate. *Matangi Tonga

Tonga pays off UN debt

Auckland, NEW ZEALAND (Kaniva): Tonga’s Chief Secretary said “Tonga has paid off its debts to the United Nations, a day after it was stripped of its voting rights.” Edgar Cocker told PMN News the government failed to pay the money after “a mix-up.” The report came after Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa said his government was working urgently to pay Tonga’s outstanding dues it owes the international body after it lost voting privileges because it was behind on payments, TBC reported on Monday. As Kaniva news reported Tonga needs to find

US$16,444 to regain its right to vote at the United Nations. The amount, equivalent to TP$ 37,751.60, is needed to reduce the amount Tonga owes to the international body to an acceptable level. Tonga is one of seven countries that have lost their voting rights. The others are Venezuela, Lebanon, Central African Republic, Gambia, Lesotho and Yemen. Comoros, Sao Tome, Principe, and Somalia are also in arrears but UN said it will keep their voting rights until September. Details of the kingdom’s full debt have not been released.

Countries whose debt to the UN equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years lose their vote. Only 146 of the 193 member states paid their dues in full for the 2019 budget. Last October UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the organisation was facing a serious financial crisis. King Tupou VI addressed the UN General Assembly last year and said the kingdom looked to the Security Council to provide protection from threats to international peace and security.

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Nuku’alofa Times

January 9, 2020 - Page 07

January 9, 2020

Nuku’alofa Times

Times SPORTS Toloa wins $30,000 at Hihifo event

The champion Toloa team (above) and Player of the Match ‘Atunaisa Latailakepa receiving his prize from Peseti Ma’afu of the Hihifo committee. Photos: TALAKI

Nuku’alofa (Nuku’alofa Times): There was one team left standing tall at the end of the gruesome Hihifo Rugby Championship here on Tongatapu last Saturday. Toloa Old Boys claimed the first Cup and went home with $30,000. Their 34-17 hiding of Marist in the final sealed a busy year for them, which had started with winning the Kolomotu’a 7sd tournament last January. And the Hihifo tournament officials have confirmed they will stage their event again at the end of 2020 – with a likely hike to $50,000 in first prize. With head coach and former Ikale Tahi captain/ number 8 Siaosi Atiola leading their campaign from the sideline Toloa did not waste too much time in the final at the Kolovai Field. Hooker Christier Latu scored their fist try, fol-

lowing some good forward drive and variation of play. Playing tight at first the Toloa pack moved the ball around and kep the momentum going forward, resulting in the Latu try. ‘Atunaisa Latailakepa converted the try as Toloa led 7-0. Marist then pulled one back with a penalty to former schoolboy star Patelesio ‘One’one, who succeeded with a penalti, leaving Toloa leading 7-3. Then it was Latailakepa’s turn again with a penalty to extend Toloa’s lead to 10-3. The game seasawed from one to another as Toloa then Marist took turns in attacking the others’ tryline. Marist was the next on the scoreboard following a good decisión not to take the penalty and kick at goal. The ensuing tap and drive saw the Marist pack from Ma’ufanga drive to-

wards the Toloa line. Petelo Po’uhila went over for their try which Patelesio converted for the full seven points, tying the game at 10-10 at the breather. In the second half the game picked up pace again. Marist was the first to be on the scoreboard in the second spell as their backline opted to run the ball, with centre Huelo Sili crossing the Toloa line. Patelesio convereted for Marist to lead 17-10. Then a mistake by Patelesio gave Toloa the lifeline as his pass went straight to his Toloa opposite in Siale Talaki, who went over the line to claim his side’s second try. The team shared a 17-17 draw after Latailakepa converted the try. After that it was Toloa all the way, with three unaswered tries from the side. Tournament director

Semisi Apai said they were grateful to all the players, the teams, the fans and sponsors for a successful event. “We are grateful to everyone for making this a succesful event,” he said. He added there are plans to raise the prizemoney to $50,000 for the Cup winner this year. This is the list of prize-

winners: Winner: Toloa Old Boys - $30,000, 2nd - Marist ‘Apifo’ou - $20,000, 3rd – Fuekafa/Army - $10,000, 4th - Fasi Maʻufanga Ngeleʻia - $8,000, 5th Kolomotuʻa - $6,000, 6th - Haʻateiho - $4,000, 7th SIla Pelu Ua - $3,000, 7th - Kau Sela mei Huʻatolitoli - $2,000.

Individual prizes: Best Try - Semisi Tei (Nukunuku), Highest number of tries - Petelō Poʻuhila (Marist) with 8 tries, Best Forward - Petelō Pouhila (Marist), Best Backline Player - ʻAtunaisa Latailakepa (Toloa), Highest points - ‘Atunaisa Latailakepa (Toloa), Man of the Match - ‘Atunaisa Latailakepa (Toloa).

The Marist team which won 2nd prize of $20,000 with Cardinal Mafi, fans and officials. Photo: FILOKALAFI ‘AKAUOLA/TALAKI

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Nuku'alofa times Issue 158  

Your weekly online newspaper here in Tonga

Nuku'alofa times Issue 158  

Your weekly online newspaper here in Tonga