Staff reporter: Pacific Media Centre
Publisher Kalafi Moala has warned Tongans to decide on what sort of nation they want for their future, saying mere political reform is not enough.
“We have to decide whether we want freedom without anarchy and order without tyranny,” he said today at the launch of his second book, In Search of the Friendly Islands, in Auckland.
He said he had written the book in response to the challenges facing Tonga in an era of globalisation and conflict between tradition and modernity.
The answers lay with the Tongan people - it was up to them to shape their future, but rediscovering traditional spirituality and faith was an important part of this path forward.
Democracy alone could not solve the issues of poverty, crime and social justice.
Several speakers endorsed the publication of the book, including Pasifika Foundation Press executive director Ana Currie, leading broadcaster Sefita Hao’uli and Spasifik magazine publisher Innes Logan.
Associate professor David Robie, director of AUT’s Pacific Media Centre, described the book as courageous and likely to provoke controversy and debate for months ahead.
“While some might see the book as pessimistic, I see it as ultimately optimistic,” he said.
“Kalafi Moala believes passionately in ideas and unlike some journalism that is part of the problem in a society, he has made the choice to be part of a solution.”
The New Zealand Herald published a full page feature article on the book today, quoting Moala as asking: “Can we rediscover the values in our own culture, in our faith-based principles, that have worked for us?”
For Tongans living outside the kingdom, in particular, he said: “The call for changes to our governing structure … must involve not only the abandoning and discarding of all that is harmful but must be replaced by that which serves the divine imperative.”
The book was launched on the day that Moala’s Taimi Media Network took over management of the government-owned newspaper Kalonikali, the Chronicle.
A launching will be held in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, next weekend.
Top picture: Kalafi Moala in an interview with Tnews, above: signing a book for PMC's David Robie. Photos by Del Abcede.
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