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TONGA

a man walks past a development site for a Chinese Investment bank in Nuku'alofa, Tonga
NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (AP) — The days unfold at a leisurely pace in Tonga, a South Pacific archipelago with no traffic lights or fast-food chains. Snuffling pigs roam dusty roads that wind through villages dotted with churches. Yet even in this far-flung island kingdom there are signs that a battle for...
 Maxin who was lucky in the ballot
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND — Thousands of Pacific Islanders - including a quarter of Samoa’s population - are hoping for a new life through the annual visa lotteries. They are ready to wrench themselves from home for a New Zealand residence visa. But is the better life the ballot promises a reality?...
American Samoa High Court building
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was convicted in 2010 for unlawful drug possession has been ordered by the High Court to depart American Samoa and return to his home country for the duration of his 15-year probation term. Paea Fokieti appeared in court last week for a probation violation...
Queen Salote
Auckland, NEW ZEALAND — Tonga's late Queen Sālote Tupou lll will be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Pacific Music Awards in Auckland. The award will be posthumously presented at the 15th awards ceremony on Thursday. Queen Sālote ascended to the throne in 1918 when she...
Tonga Supreme Court building
Nuku'alofa, TONGA — Police in Tonga have arrested 17 people in a series of drug busts over Easter Weekend. The Drug Taskforce arrested ten men on Friday and another 7 on Saturday across three locations in the main island of Tongatapu. Police also seized a small amount of methamphetamine, cannabis,...
A set of tātatau tools and instruments
South East Queensland, AUSTRALIA — Scientists in Australia have dated a set of ancient tattoo chisels to the dawn of Polynesian culture, 2,700 years ago. The tools were found in Tonga Tapu, and the scientists say that suggests that tattooing began in Tonga and Samoa, and then spread to the rest of...
Logos of various social media sites
Honolullu, HAWAII — When Tonga lost all cell phone and internet connection to the outside world on Sunday evening, Paula Piveni Piukala, the country's cable director happened to be attending a regional Telecommunications conference in Hawai'i. When he received news that something was wrong, he said...
 Tonga's prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva
Nuku'alofa, TONGA — Tonga's Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva has urged unmarried senior civil servants to find a husband in 2019. Mr Pohiva hosted a meeting and prayer service for staff this week to kick off the new work year. According to a government press release, Mr Pohiva closed the event with...
Pictured l-r: Miss Cook Islands, Lydia Simonis; Miss Tuvalu Emeli Pelesa Panapa; Miss Pacific Islands 2017-2018 Matau'aina Gwendolyn Toomalatai; newly crowned Miss Pacific Islands 2018-2019 Miss Papua New Guinea Leishina Mercy Kariha; Miss Tonga Kalolaine Talia Fanganitau; Miss American Samoa Magalita Philomena Johnson; and Miss Samoa Sonia Piva.
Nuku'alofa, TONGA — Winner of the 2018-2019 Miss Pacific Islands title is Miss Papua New Guinea (center). The official announcement was made during the second and final night of competition in the Kingdom of Tonga on Friday, Nov. 30 (Tonga Time). At 18-year-old, Leishina Mercy Kariha, was the...
No Pelestiki fabric bags and 'oa baskets.
Nuku'alofa, TONGA — A new community group in Tonga is encouraging people to say no to plastic and use fabric bags and baskets woven from coconut fibres as an alternative. The group has launched the 'No Pelesitiki' campaign and says it has received support from the Royal household, nobles,...

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