Jun 16, 2019 Last Updated 10:14 PM, Jun 14, 2019

Recent scientific research in Tongan waters has unearthed significant findings that could lead to new cure for cancer. The research was carried out by Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) PhD graduate Taitusi Taufa, who has been credited with discovering new medicinal properties in marine sponges, including several unique anti-cancer compounds.

Taufa, who graduated in May with a PhD in Chemistry, worked on this research as part of his thesis and it involved dives in various locations in Tonga.

The dive on ‘Eua Island however was the most revealing as it was marked by the discovery of unique chemical properties in marine sponges, which is believed to be more than 30 million years old and thus has an unusually unique marine environment. Being an ancient island, ‘Eua is said to be geologically unrelated to other islands in Tonga so is thought to host organisms that produce “interesting and novel chemistry,” according to Taufa.

The high standard of his work, according to VUW, “was subsequently recognised by being selected for the Doctoral Dean’s List – a formal record and public acknowledgement of doctoral graduates whose thesis have been judged by their examiners to be of exceptional quality, and whose work makes an outstanding contribution to their field of research.”

IB interviewed Taufa to shed more light on the research.

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DOCTOR Manu Tupou-Roosen, Director General-designate of the Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency plans to bring to the role a strong commitment to empower the Pacific people through greater cooperation.

And this she believes is only possible through effective communication and collaboration between the FFA Secretariat based in Honiara, Solomon Islands with members and stakeholders of the regional body mandated with assisting member nations manage their offshore fisheries better.

“Our mission is clear - to maximise the economic and social benefits of our Pacific people through the sustainable use of our offshore fisheries resources,” Dr Tupou-Roosen wrote in an interview conducted via electronic mail.

“Our platform to deliver on that mission is also clear - cooperation. This is the cornerstone of our success as a region. It is our Pacific Way and it is the only way that we can ensure a safe, stable and prosperous region for our people. My priorities will be empowerment of our people, effective communication and effective collaboration between the FFA Secretariat, members and all stakeholders. These tools are critical to successful cooperation in order for our Pacific people to prosper.

“Using our skills and resources to continue strengthening our tools to combat IUU [Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated] fishing as well as to enhance social benefits will also be top of mind for me in this role.

“I will be actively reaching out to all members and all stakeholders. I am committed to listening. I am committed to working closely with the Deputy DirectorGeneral Matt Hooper, our staff and our members, and all of our partners such as the PNA Office, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and SPC-FAME Division, to embrace a wide range of views, to ensure that the FFA is as effective as possible in delivering on its mission.”

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Pohiva storms back

Tongan Parliament votes

VETERAN politician and long-time democracy fighter Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva has his job cut out for him after he was re-elected as Tonga’s Prime Minister with a 14-12 vote in the Tongan Parliament in Nuku’alofa on December 18.

Pohiva was re-elected as Tonga’s PM over his former deputy and the only other nominee for the top post, Siaosi Sovaleni. Following a day-long election process, acting Speaker of the House Lord Tangi announced the secret ballot results, after his briefing with His Majesty King Tupou VI.

“I thank all of you for the important job that you have been able to carry out today,” Lord Tangi told the members of parliament. “You have made your selection and we will now have to go on with that.” In his acceptance speech Pohiva...

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TO say that Tonga has soared up the Rugby League International Federation (RFIL) rankings list after a stunning World Cup run is an understatement to the manner in which it achieved the feat. The South Sea islanders brought the tournament to life even before it began and overshadowed Australia’s gallant defence of the crown against England with a hardfought 6-0 victory. The Mate Ma’a’s dream run ended at the top four but they will forever be remembered as the story of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.


In the lead-up to the World Cup Jason Taumalolo featured prominently in New Zealand colours but switched to play for Tonga at the last minute. His decision shocked everyone, most of all NZ coach David Kidwell. He was joined by former Kiwis David Fusitu’a, Sio Siua Taukei’aho and Manu Ma’u. They were joined by Kangaroos prop Andrew Fifita, who had already been named in the Kangaroos squad.

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TONGA goes to the poll on November 16 to elect their 17 People’s Representatives in the Legislative Assembly. That is 12 months earlier than planned, after His Majesty King Tupou VI dissolved parliament in September and ordered fresh elections.

When the Supervisor of Elections closed the registration of candidates in late September, a total of 86 people had confirmed their interests to run from the 17 different constituencies. That is 20 less than the 106 that stood in the 2014 elections.

Fifteen candidates are women, fighting to win seats in parliament. More than 57,000 people have registered and interestingly the field of candidates include some new high-profiled locals who had served either in the civil service, regional organisations or the private sector. That makes the battle for the parliamentary seats more exciting. The ‘Akilisi Pohiva led Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands have named 17 candidates to contest the election.

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