Brisbane Tongan community supports kava import pilot program

President of the Brisbane Tongan Community steering committee, Rev. Maile Molitika says that kava clubs are important in holding the community spirit together. They support the Australian Prime Minister's Pilot Program to ease restrictions on kave importation.

The Australian Government conducted a consultation process through a Pilot Program to ease restrictions on the importation of kava for personal use into Australia.

Tongan passengers transiting in Fiji warned about new travel requirements

Tonga Chief Executive Officer Agriculture, Dr Viliami Manu said Fiji is implementing an international policy that will prohibit powder items that exceed 350 grams per passenger including Tongan kava.

Manu said many passengers traveling via Fiji have been disappointed because the Tongan kava they had packed was destroyed as the packages exceeded the permitted amount.

International policies include the restricted number of liquid items allowed per passenger.


Photo file. Caption:Tongan kava 

Kava craze hits the USA

Kavafied is the brain child of former NFL player Matt Masifilo, who developed a simple and quick way to make kava at the end of his 2014 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

He says people in the USA are catching on to the kava craze and the demand for the Pacific Island beverage is at an all-time high.

“There’s not enough kava right now to meet demand, especially with the phenomenon of the American kava bar scene that’s exploding on to the market right now."

Vanuatu leads push to make narcotic drink kava a worldwide favourite

The kava plant – Piper methysticum – only grows in the south Pacific islands, with each one producing different varieties according to growing conditions, soil and climate, much like the different varieties of tea, coffee or wine.

The sedative brew is made from the roots of the kava plant, a member of the pepper family. As a drink it looks like muddy water and has a bitter aftertaste, but it is popular in the islands for its relaxing, narcotic properties.

Kava drinking club - cool or cultural appropriation?

The multi-cultural group meets up for a drink each week, and is part of a trend that has seen kava go beyond its Pacific roots, but the Kava Society has got some social media users hot under the collar. 

But one of its founding members, Zbigniew Dumieński, said the group didn't pretend to follow any rituals or ceremonies and thinks it would be bad, culturally, if they did. 

He said his initial interest in kava was sparked while he was in the Cook Islands and Niue for research. 

Academic says kava good for mental health

Massey University lecturer in nursing, Sione Vaka, said his research had found kava had a positive impact among some people with mental health issues.

RNZ reports Vaka’s studies were based on previous doctorate research focusing on Tongan men.

He said while kava drinking was common in many social and formal Pacific cultures and traditions, the crop contained relaxant properties and the setting provides a forum for people to reconnect with others around the kava circle and share their views on life.

Study probes kava effectiveness on anxiety

A range of clinical studies on kava use have been conducted, firstly through the Universities of Queensland, and then Melbourne and Swinburne Universities in Victoria.

Early trials in 2013 showed a significant reduction in anxiety for people using kava compared to a placebo group during the study.

The lead researcher, Jerome Sarris, said a more recent study confirmed reduced levels for people with chronic anxiety conditions.

Kava certainly has a role as being a relatively safe, anxiety reducing medicineJerome Sarris

Kava produced from Madang ‘koniak’ is loved in Fiji

This was pointed out recently by sales representative from a kava processing company from Fiji called Niugini Kava whose popular market brand Kava Toks was showcased recently at the Madang Investment Summit.

 The company set up a stall at the Sugeng Aben Park near Madang Resort Hotel where it showcased products made from kava that originated from along the NCR in Madang.

An agent for Niugini Kava had been buying kava roots from smallholder farmers along the NCR and later shipping it overseas for processing and marketing.

Going under kava

Kava is a popular drink consumed in Pacific countries such as Fiji, Tonga, and Vanuatu, with variations on the ceremony surrounding its consumption.

But, in recent times, the narcotic's popularity outside the islands has grown and, with it, questions about how kava drinking mixes with contemporary life – in particular, driving.


Study underway to examine kava's link to drink-driving

The study, which is the first of its kind, will use cognitive and driving simulation tests to assess driver fitness immediately after consuming significant amounts of kava.