New Tongan drama series 'Brutal Lives'

New Tongan drama

A ground-breaking six part series about a Tongan father returning home to face his past has been streamed on Coconet.tv

Set in south Auckland, Brutal Lives – Mo’ui Faingata’a is about a fallen boxing champion who returns home after 20 years when his father dies.   He must face his three children that he left behind, especially his daughter, Lupe.

At the same time, an ancient Tongan spirit warrior seeks revenge for the sins of the Valu family actions 500 years ago.

Brutal Lives – Mo’ui Faingata’a, was produced by veteran journalist Sandra Kailahi and directed by  Vela Manusaute.

“The story and the idea is drawn from our own experiences and cultures—for me, it’s my love of Pacific boxing and Pacific stories,” Manusaute said.

“Sandra was inspired by stories from her village, Kolonga in Tonga and a desire to see more Tongan stories on screen and in the Tongan language.”

End of Life referendum

Most Pasifika oppose the End of Life Bill which will be the subject during this year’s selection, according to a new report from Tagata Pasifika.

During an interview with Tongan community leader Soana Muimuiheata and Hannah Wynne, host Alistar Kata said most Pasfika shared Muimuiheta’s view.

This was that ultimately only God could take a person’s life away.

Kata said she wanted to be able to choose to spare her family from watching her suffer, but said that individuals had to be protected by a safety net of regulations.

Israel Folau

Israel Folau’s decision not to kneel at the start of a match has been defended by members of his team’s management.

Folau drew condemnation when he refused to join players from his own team, the Catalan Dragons and British team St Helens in kneeling as a sign of support for the Black Lives Matter campaign.

However, a Dragons spokesman said Folau believed he should only kneel to God.

“He obviously supports justice for black people, being of Islander background himself, but kneeling in protest goes against his beliefs.”

Dragons coach Steve McNamara also defended Folau’s decision after the match saying it was a “personal choice”.

Opening borders

Tongan officials joined an online meeting this week to discuss the safe reopening of entry points into six Pacific Islands countries.

The meeting was convened by the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank with representatives from Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Fiji.

The Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet  Edgar Cocker said the UN and ADB could help with the costs of quarantine facilities and COVID-19 tests of repatriated passengers.

There has  been pressure to reopen New Zealand’s borders with Pacific nations that are free of the Covid-19 virus.

However, a report in the New Zealand media said nearly 70% of New Zealanders were in favour of keeping the country’s borders closed.

Seasonal workers

Pacific governments have welcomed a pilot plan to allow seasonal workers back into Australia,  but are worried about who will pay for a compulsory two weeks quarantine.

A group of seasonal workers from Vanuatu is being allowed into the Northern Territory to pick mangoes. They will be quarantined even though Vanuatu is Covid-19 free.

A Solomon Islands spokesman said he had been led to believe by Australian officials that the cost of quarantine would be paid by employers, but workers might still have to pay some services.

Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat said the quarantine issue was still being finalised.

Criminals and Covid-19

International criminal gangs  could be taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to traffic drugs through the Pacific, according to an academic at the Australian National University.

Dr Henry Ivarature from the ANU’s Australia-Pacific Security College, government resources and attention were being diverted to trying to contain the spread of the virus.

“Criminal elements could be taking advantage of that diversion of resources and attention to increase their activity,” he said.

His comments come after the seizure of 500,000kg of cocaine in PNG reignited debate on how criminals are exploiting the Pacific to traffic drugs to Australia and New Zealand.

Countries in the central Pacific, such as Tonga, Samoa and Fiji are often used as stopover points for drugs being smuggled from south America to Australia and New Zealand.

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