Manu Samoa ring changes as Tonga, Fiji add firepower

Jordan Lay, Seilala Lam and Viliamu Afatia form a brand new front row combination, with Logovii Mulipola out injured, while Joe Tekori joins captain Chris Vui in the second row.

TJ Ioane starts on the openside flank with Jack Lam shifting to number eight.

Dwayne Polataivao gets the nod at halfback, with Alofa Alofa replacing the injured Rey Lee-Lo at centre, in his first test appearance for three years, while veteran Paul Perez comes onto the right wing.

The 'Ikale Tahi have brought in four new faces with one positional change to the run-on team.

Petition calling for investigation into Tongan PM tabled

The prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva had urged parliament to defer the petition, which alleges he and his cabinet colleagues breached the constitution, so that the budget could be debated.

The petition asks that an audit be carried out on some government department's budgets from 2015 until now.

It also proposes the impeachment of seven Cabinet Ministers including Mr Pohiva.

Mr Pohiva wants parliament to debate the proposed budget because there's only five or six days left to do so.

Mahe Tupouniua is new Tonga Secretary of Foreign Affairs

Tupouniua, who is from Kolomotu’a, Tongatapu, takes up his appointment from 14 June, 2018 for a period of four years.

He holds a Master of Arts in Foreign Affairs and Trade from the University of Monash, Australia, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, United States of America and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Boat company charged a year after Tongan man died falling overboard

Tevita Kava, 29, fell overboard during the Waitematā Harbour excursion on a Red Boats charter on June 3 last year.

His body was found in water near Te Atatū nine days later.

This week, Maritime New Zealand filed a charge against The Red Boats Limited under the Health and Safety at Work Act, according to the New Zealand Herald.

The company is charged will "failing to comply with duty that exposes individuals to risk of death or serious injury or serious illness".

Kava's cousin, Ngaire Speedy, said the family were still deeply grieving Kava.

Jason Taumalolo confirms commitment to Tonga

Taumalolo made an 11th-hour defection from New Zealand to the Pacific Island nation before last year's World Cup, where he led them to an historic win over the Kiwis, en route to the semi-finals.

On Wednesday, the North Queensland Cowboy told the team's website that he was fully committed long-term to Mate Ma'a, which he hopes to establish as an international powerhouse.

"The World Cup last year, I'd never been a part of something like that before," Taumalolo said. "It was a really special experience. 

Australia hands over vehicles to His Majesties Armed Forces in Tonga

The assistance reflects Australia’s ongoing commitment to support His Majesty’s Armed Forces to further enhance its capability to respond to natural disasters.

Payne’s visit to the Kingdom of Tonga coincides with a period of high engagement with Australia’s Pacific partners through Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018 (IPE18).

“I will also promote the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda while in Tonga by facilitating a WPS workshop with Australian Defence Force and His Majesty’s Armed Forces personnel as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018,” she said.

Samoa wary of Tonga

The former Wallaby fullback said the Tongans would come down hard on them, more physical in their approach.

“They will have a few tricks up their sleeves but we got to make sure that we look after ourselves, we take care of the ball and we aid the game on our terms,” he said.

Latham however added that respect for the opposition was vital for any intense competition.


New Ha’apai Court House to open Friday

The new building was funded by Asian Development Bank and constructed by Five Stars Construction Ltd.

The premises will also house the Sub-registry for the District of Ha’apai.

The main function of the sub-registry is to register Birth and Deaths and to issue Marriage licenses to members of the public.

The old Court House was extensively damaged by Cyclone Ian in 2014.

The Ministry of Justice renovated the old damaged building in 2016 with the intention of preserving its historical status.

Third political party for Tonga

The new group is just the third political party to have been officially launched in the kingdom.

The party, which was launched over the weekend, will be headed by retired colonel and diplomat Siamelie Latu and his deputy Sione Tu'itavake Fonua, who is a lawyer.

In his inaugural speech Colonel Latu stressed the party would abide by political reform principles introduced in 2010.

He said the party's desire was for the country to be under competent leadership, to be transparent and to ensure there is law and order for people to live peacefully.

With 'Vai', a Tongan filmmaker's dream comes true

Eight Pacific women have been selected to write and direct the story of Vai.

Vai's producers say the movie will give voice to the largely under-represented perspectives of Pacific women. 

The other women writing and directing Vai hail from or have ancestral connections with the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, New Zealand, Samoa and Solomon Islands, and the film will be shot in those countries along with Tonga.

'Ofa-ki-Levuka Guttenbeil Likiliki says she has always had her heart set on film-making.