Thursday, 9 September 2021 - 1:56pm

Tongan culture alive in Police

3 min read

News article photos (2 items)

Melemo Afu-He-Tau Fa’aui Siakumi.
Melemo and her fāmilí.

​For Tongan Language week, we meet Police Policy Advisor Melemo Afu-He-Tau Fa’aui Siakumi to find out a bit more about her, her Tongan culture, and her role at Police National Headquarters.

Oku fakafeta’i ki he ’Otua 'i he’eku mo’ui. ’Oku ou fakamalo’ia hoku hoa, mo ’eku fanau pea mo ’eku ongo matu’a foki he me’a kotoa.

First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge the Heavenly Father for my life. I want to also humbly acknowledge the love and support of my husband and our children. Finally, I acknowledge my dear parents for their ongoing sacrifices for their children and grandchildren.

Melemo was named after her father’s sister, who passed away at a young age. She was born in Tongatapu in Tonga and her fāmilí are from two different parts; her mother is from ’Utungake (Vava’u) and Ma’ufanga (Tongatapu) and her father is from Tungua and Pangai in Ha’apai. 

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people I work with in my team and across different business groups. I enjoy working with people from various business groups that make sure we provide accurate information to help our people do their jobs.

Also, my team, team leader and director support my growth professionally as well as my participation in networks like Mana Wāhine and Wellington Pasifika Connections.

How have you seen Tongan language help police engage with the public?

The theme for Tonga Language Week is Fakakoloa ’o Aotearoa ’aki ’a e Ako Lelei, which means enriching Aotearoa with holistic education. For me, holistic education means education, learning and growth as a whole person.

This links to the way that Police has enriched me with holistic education by supporting me to develop professionally, undertake post graduate studies and participate and contribute to the Tongan Internal Support Network.

Police’s sponsorship for spaces like the Tongan Internal Support Network has supported me to further develop my Tongan language and identity.

When I see me and my Tongan brothers and sisters in Police talk, pray, sing and joke in our Tongan language in a work environment that supports diversity it helps me feel like I am safe to bring my culture to work.

This helps strengthen my sense of belonging and I feel that my culture is valued at work.

I have seen that being supported to bring our culture and language to work has helped my colleagues to feel more confident in using our Tongan language and has enabled us to better engage with our communities and equip our colleagues by enhancing their cultural competency when working with our Tongan people.

I feel that the Tongan language has helped us to a deliver a service that our Tongan families and communities expect and deserve.

What does Tongan culture mean to you in Aotearoa?

Tongan culture to me in Aotearoa means holding on to my roots in Tonga and grounding myself in my heritage, faith, family, Tongan values and language - and using these gifts and treasures in a way that benefits my family, my Tongan people, my wider community here in Aotearoa. 

What are your top tips for staying safe during the alert levels?

Fakamolemole sikeni ’a e ngaahi QR codes ’i ho’o fefononga’aki - Please scan QR codes whenever you go. 

Fanofano pea sanitaisa ma’u pe ho nima - Wash and sanitise hands often. 

Nofo malu ’i ’api pea fe’ofo’ofani mo e taha kotoa pe - Be safe at home, and be kind to each other.

’Oku mau fakamalo atu ki he ngaahi komuniti Pasifiki ’i ho’omou taliangi! - We thank the Pasifika community for doing this!

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