Former Tonga school teacher receives NZ order of Merit award

Former Tonga High School teacher, Siale Faitotonu has been awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for offering more than 30 years of service to Pacific education. reports that Faitotonu’s services over the years include starting a play group at Rowley School in Christchurch and a computer programme for parents in the low decile area.

Around 30 years ago, Faitotonu also started a voluntary after-school homework program to help year 3 to 8 students from 15 Christchurch schools to better their education using the Tongan language.

He was instrumental in the Lea Faka-Tonga having being included as a National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) subject and was the moderator for 3 years.

Faitotonu started a course for students from 16 high schools to learn Tongan and gain NCEA credits.

A Tongan radio show he ran on Plains FM for 31 years was part of the service where he delivered messages about education from government to families.

Faitotonu moved to New Zealand in 1984, where he took up a job helping to build the Clyde Dam for the Ministry of Works.

He even worked in Antarctica to build a water reservoir.

He then accepted a lab technician role at Canterbury University in 1986.

Faitotonu is a Pacific adviser at the university and for the Ara Institute, where he assists in improving outcomes and campuses for Pasifika students.