Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau at Victoria University

Getting a PhD doesn’t even come close to the work his mother did in raising her children, according to Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau.

The Tongan scholar, who is pursuing his postgraduate studies at Victoria University in Wellington, said some of the hardest working people he knew focused on looking after their families.

“I have so much respect for my mother for raising three kids on her own,” he told South Pacific Islander Organisation.

“That’s the standard that I hold myself up to.”

Born in Tonga, Taumoefolau’s family emigrated to Australia in the early 1990s where his father had an undergraduate scholarship.

Four years later his mother and his two siblings moved back to the kingdom, where he attended Tupou College.

After his mother died he was looked after by his aunt, Dr Netatua Pelesikoti Taufatofua, who was teaching at the University of the South Pacific in Suva.

After completing his undergraduate studies there he returned to Tonga and then moved to Canberra to complete an M.A in International Affairs at the Australia National University under an Ausaid scholarship.

After graduating from ANU he returned to Tonga where he worked for the Ministry of Justice as an interpreter and liaison officer. He also worked at the Australian High Commission in Nuku’alofa and was a development programme co-ordinator at the New Zealand High Commission.

While studying at VU in Wellington, he is co-ordinator for the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives in  Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

The Canada Fund has been involved with projects as diverse as planting vegetables at school in Samoa and establishing women’s services in Fiji,

The main points

  • Getting a PhD doesn’t even come close to the work his mother did raising her children, according to Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau.
  • The Tongan scholar, who is pursuing his postgradute studies at Victoria University in Wellington, said some of the hardest working people he know focused on looking after their families.

For more information

Tongan PhD in Developmental Studies, Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau. “Remember that college isn’t the only means to a fulfilling life”

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