News & Events -  USP Tonga Campus

Remembering the Past and Securing the Future: Towards the next 50 years

The USP Tonga community gathered at the campus foyer to commemorate the sealing of their time capsule along with Director Nauru Campus – Ms. Alamanda Lauti and the family of the late coordinator for Pacific Tafe, Mr. Fangufangumana Latu to a solemn tribute in rememberance of those who have contributed to the development of the University and the campus for the past 50 years.

Dr. Johansson- Fua, Director Campus and IoE, paid tribute to those who have been part of the campus in recent years for their mammoth contributions and tireless efforts in ensuring the campus is a hub of knowledge creation and growth. She emphasised the importance of the messages shared by the staff in the time capsule as a symbol of togetherness and prosperity as a community and how it would endeavor to be a message passed on by those who would read the notes in the next 50 years.

The Campus family was also privileged to receive potted sandalwood plants donated by the Director and her family to which the staff gladly planted on the front lawn known as the ‘Pangai o Tu’i Ha’ateiho’,  situated on the new campus complex grounds. ‘It is my hope that in the next 50 years these ‘ahi’ (sandalwood) trees would be available for students who may need financial assistance,’ Dr. Fua said. The Campus Director envisions that the tree planting event would be a way of investing for the future generations of Tonga campus.

Also part of the celebrations was the alumni parade which kicked off to a good start on Friday the 16th, and ended with a meeting at the Kalofiama ‘o Epworth Hall. The alumni association was also able to select its six (6) office bearers with Dr 'Uhila moe Langi Fasi (President), Dr Netatua Pelesikoti (Vice President), Sinai Tu’tahi (Secretary), Tu’amelie Faaitu’a (Vice Secretary), Hasiloni Fungavai (Treasurer) and Feleti Fa’otusia (Vice Treasurer).

The final event of the campus 50th celebration was an Aloha night hosted by the Tonga Student Association (TSA) which was attended by members of the alumni, staff and current students. In her comments, President of TSA, Ms. Lily Tano’a shared, ‘The current student association is honored to have contributed to the 50th Anniversary and look forward to future collaborations with the campus on activities that would benefit Tongan students.’ Ms. Tano’a said.

The Aloha night was an epic finale of the campus anniversary celebrations to which Vice President, Regional Campuses, Estates and Infrastructure; Dr. Massaso Paunga acknowledged the wonderful preparations shown by the TSA President and her team.

The weeklong moment to shine ended on a high note to which groundbreaking milestones were reached, investments sealed for the future and “Kuku Kaunaka” – the notion to hold and preserve treasures, maintained until the next 50 years.

His Majesty, the King of Tonga Launches the Kuku Kaunaka Collection

In a welcome most fitting for their King, the staff and students moved a standing ovation to greet His Majesty, King Tupou VI to Tonga campus.  His Majesty’s Royal visit saw students from the Pacific TAFE school based program (from Tailulu College and Apifo’ou College) seated on the edge of the walkway as a sign of respect.

His Majesty’s visit to the campus was to launch the Tonga ‘Kuku Kaunaka’ collection on Wednesday Nov, 14th. His Majesty named the collection, ‘Kuku Kaunaka’ in reference to preserving precious treasures and protecting it from being lost. In a closed ceremony attended by the Deputy Pro Chancellor, Ms. Aloma Johansson, Vice President for Regional Campuses and Estates and Infrastructure, Dr. G. Massaso Paunga, The President of the Free Church of Tonga – Reverend Semisi Fonua, Lord of the Estate, Hon. Tu’i Ha’ateiho, Director of the Nauru Campus, Ms. Alamanda Lauti, Director Tonga Campus and Institute of Education, Dr. Seu’ula Johansson- Fua, the Student Association choir, and Staff representatives.  His Majesty was pleased with the original thoughts pertaining to the thesis collection.

The Kuku Kaunaka collection includes the preservation of Tongan knowledge and research conducted by Tongan nationals – of 193 identified theses with 141 physical collection launched on the day. The collection stores work from Tongan researchers around the globe including Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Canada, United States of America and the United Kingdom.  Dr. Seu’ula Johansson – Fua intends to see the continuity of the collection of PhD theses and an extension to include MA theses by Tongan scholars. The purpose of the collection is to bring home the country’s ‘koloa’ or treasures and further encourage our students’ research work in building Tongan scholarship.

Also gifted to the collection were rare Tongan books from Ms. Alamanda Lauti’s personal collections which included historical accounts and photographs. She also presented some of her Nauru collections to the campus which have now been displayed under the Nauru section of the library.

His Majesty King Tupou VI was elated at the viewing of the traditional Tongan canoe – Tafa’anga which had been an initiative of the current students of Tonga campus. This will also be part of the campus’ collection in honor of the University’s 50th anniversary. The initiative to preserve the skills of building the Tafa’anga is part of the Student Association’s larger program to preserve and relearn traditional knowledge skills that are diminishing.

It was indeed a moment to shine for the Tonga campus community and an honor to receive His Majesty’s support for our work in supporting educational development in our home country. It was indeed a most humbling and significant event as Tonga USP staff marked the 50th anniversary of the USP service in the region and in Tonga.

Hundreds Attend Tonga Campus and IoE 50th Anniversary Thanksgiving service

MORE than a hundred members of the Tonga Campus community and its affiliations assembled at the Siasi ‘o Tonga (Church of Tonga) – Kilikali for the thanksgiving service to commemorate the second event of the ‘moment to shine’ on Tuesday 13th

The guest list at the special service included the Vice President – Regional Campus and Estate and Infrastructure, Dr. Massaso Paunga on behalf of the President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Senior Officials and members of the University Council, high ranking Government Officials, School Principals, former Campus Directors and Staff, Pioneers, Alumni, current staff, students and parents who filled the uniquely constructed church which is situated within the Nuku’alofa city periphery.

The service was officiated by Reverend Dr. Tu’ipulotu Katoanga, who is also a golden member of the University Alumni. Dr. Katoanga’s sermon brought back sweet memories for the participants as he translated the University motto into Tongan: “Kihe lelei taha ‘i he ako mo e fa’unga ‘o e poto mo e ‘ilo”. [Towards Excellence in Learning and Knowledge Creation]. His message was timely and fitting for such a special occasion as he reminded the participants of the importance of maintaining faith and prayer as a ‘qualification to achieving excellence.’

Mrs. Ane Veikune (the longest serving Tonga campus staff), shared how elated she was to meet some of the Pioneers and Former Campus Directors. “Seeing the pioneers and former campus directors at the service brought back sweet memories of the initial establishment of the campus,” Mrs. Veikune said.  

For most alumni present, it was a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with the University family. As Mr. Paula Latu (a Bachelor of Science alumni), shared how excited he was to be present at the combined service. ‘It’s wonderful to be back to USP space and I look forward to connecting with other alumni throughout the week’, Mr. Latu said.

Another highlight of the event was the soothing rendition by the church choir who touched the hearts of everyone with their selection of hymns.

This being only the second event of the long week ‘moment to shine’ celebration, the Director and staff of the campus eagerly prepare for other upcoming events especially the visit of His Majesty,  King Tupou VI of Tonga to the campus.

USP Tonga Campus Science Fair

“Science to Inspire”, was the theme for The University of the South Pacific’s first ever science fun fair held in the Tonga Campus grounds. It was a fun filled day for invited schools where they witnessed interesting demonstrations presented to them by the current science students of Tonga Campus. The Pacific TAFE and 3 faculties of the University were given a platform to display and inform eager students about science and it various applications in the world today.

The prime aim of this endeavor as stated by the event manager, Mr. Frederick Faiva’ilo, was to make science interesting among youths. There is a need for local scientists in the Pacific for progress. Through the displays and science equipment shown in the fair, the science team hoped to make students of all levels feel interested in taking up science in the secondary level and further pursue science in the tertiary level.

The science fun fair was launched by Dr. Ana Maui Taufe‘ulungaki on the 22nd of June with games, displays and light refreshments. The teachers enjoyed themselves and were pleased to see their students engaging with the Campus Students. The invited schools were presented with certificate of participation and the day concluded with a special bomb display done by the science team of Pac. TAFE.

USP Ha’apai Centre – Ha’apai Masani: More than just pen and paper.

The University of the South Pacific (USP), Ha’apai Centre is colorfully adding flavor to the Ha’apai Masani festival this year.

With the idea of promoting a more positive community, the USP centre staff are putting together free training sessions for the whole of the Ha’apai group from the 20th – 21st June.

The program kicked off this morning at the centre’s main classroom with the “head, hand and heart” approach mainly to encourage local participants of the importance of utilizing their local knowledge in promoting sustainable development. The sessions include floral arrangement, table setting and bed setting and are due to continue for the rest of the week.

Local based trainer and businessman Mr. Fetuuloa Havili encouraged the participants present that local knowledge, skills and resources are just as important as the “pen and paper”. The first session included 15 women from various villages in Ha’apai.

The USP Ha’apai centre Co-ordinator Mrs. Talei Ulufonua says that she and her team are “keen on providing more locally organized trainings to best suit the needs of the local people”, Ms. Ulufonua said.

The USP centre staff and their Tonga campus based counterparts will also be actively participating in the week long, Ha’apai Masani activities.

Final LALI Project Presentation to Hon. Minister and Ministry of Education & Training

The final presentation of the ‘Literacy and Leadership Initiative (LALI) took place on Thursday the 14th of June at Lopaukamea Hall in the University of the South Pacific, Tonga Campus. The Pacific Literacy and School Leadership Program (PLSLP) initiated by New Zealand MFAT and under the collaboration with University of Auckland (UA), Institute of Education (IOE), USP Tonga Campus and the Ministries of Education. The PLSLP has been run in the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and fifteen Government primary schools in Tonga.

The four year project dawned on October 2014 and it concludes this afternoon. The purpose of this vast collaboration was to improve student literacy learning in primary schools, improve teacher practice in the classroom, improve school leadership practices, and build strong foundations at Ministerial level.  The design-based research method of project delivery meant teachers and principals were given the opportunity to engage with their own data, make their meanings from the data and use it to inform their own school and classroom planning.

The final project findings were presented to the Minister of Education and Training, Hon. Penisimani ‘Epenisa Fifita and to H. E. Ms. Tiffany Babington, the New Zealand High Commissioner to Tonga. It was presented by the IOE staff led by Associate Professor Eve Coxon, the Project DIRECTOR, Dr. ‘Ana Maui Taufe‘ulungaki and Dr. Seu’ula Johansson-Fua.

Through the LALI program, student’s literacy achievements improved over time for both boys and girls. The students were able to read and retell in Tongan and in the English language and there were shifts at each time point for both languages, across all class levels and in all the clusters.

The beauty of the project shared by Ms. Heti Veikune, (Assistant Lecturer of English at USP, Tonga campus) is that upon identifying key issues, strategies were developed to improve learning and was implemented in the selected schools. Through this project, teachers were assisted to utilize a range of instructional strategies which aligns to the students’ needs.

Although it is the final sound of the lali, the echo of its beat carries on in the students, teachers and Principals who participated in the project in Tonga.  Dr. ‘Ana Taufe‘ulungaki closed the presentation with a challenge to the Ministry that the sustainability of this project lies in their court. The groundbreaking achievements of the project need to be sustained and need to be practiced in the rest of the primary schools. Hopefully the sound of the LALI will continue to be heard.

FSTE Awards High Achievers

“Today is not a day of achievement but a day of encouragement” those were the strong words of Ms. Mumui La‘akulu, the recipient of the certificate of achievement in environmental science. For the first time ever an award session was held to acknowledge and celebrate the success of 2017 enrolled students for the In-country Science programme held on March 29th. Five students were awarded with certificates and cash prizes for their respective programs.

The In-country Science program began in 2017 at the USP Tonga Campus in partnership with the government of Tonga and ADB sponsors. The need for local scientists and science teachers gave birth to this program which is on its second year now. A total of 50 students are sponsored by the ADB and government while approximately 90 students have joined the program as well as private students making the largest enrollment in the region. The awards was to celebrate the journey so far in this program with the stakeholders and students.

The event was graced with the presence of the Minister of Education and Training, as the guest of honor, Hon. Penisimani Fifita who presented the awards to the recipients and encouraged students to keep persevering. Associate Professor Bibhya Sharma highlighted in his remarks that “one doesn’t have to be in Laucala to perform well and the In-country science students are doing equally well and if not better than the Laucala students”.

For many students it was a great opportunity for this program to be run in Tonga, for they were able to work, and complete their studies. Bringing the learning to their doorsteps gives chances for many of the young students to be able to complete their degree programs with a little bit of an ease for them to reach out to their dreams. The success of Tonga campus triggered many more programs similar to this in other regional campuses. And soon many more students’ dreams will be fulfilled with similar programs as this.

The USP Tonga Campus creates History with its Ha’amonga Achievers Awards

The USP Tonga Campus awarded twenty nine (29) of its high Grade Point Average (GPA) achievers from the three faculties and the Pacific Technical and Further Education (PacTafe) at a ceremony held at the campus grounds on Friday, 23rd March.

Significant to its name the awards is derived from the historical ancient stones located on the eastern side of Tongatapu. The Ha'amonga 'a Maui is a gigantic construction which consists of three giant stones. Two upright stones and a stone beam uniting them.

 The breathtaking Ha‘amonga ‘a Maui has been chosen to symbolize USP Tonga Campus’ Highest GPA Awards.  Built in the 12th century, it has withstood the test of time, a testament to the strength and the skill with which it was built.  The Ha‘amonga ‘a Maui is a tangible link from the past to the present, reminding students of much that is good about Tongan society: endurance, creativity, pride, intelligence, wisdom, discipline and respect.  

A custodian of the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui, Mrs. Tapukitea Rokolekutu, (part –time tutor, PacTafe) of Niutoua village, in her description of the ancient stone says, ‘a good education, like the Ha‘amonga, requires building on a firm foundation, enduring hardships, and by strategically using strength, skill and focus, to achieve one’s goals’, Mrs. Rokolekutu said.

The Ha’amonga Awards ceremony was a fine success with Dr. Mo’ale Otunuku of the Institute of Education (IoE) as guest of honor. The Chair of the Campus Academic Committee, Mrs. ‘Ana Heti Veikune, also welcomed students and parents with the hope that the event would include more high GPA achievers in the upcoming semesters.

One of the pioneer high achievers, Ms. Makeleta Malimali shared in her speech that in order to become a high achiever, ‘one must strike a good balance between good study habits and good friends in order to have a healthy and happy mind to study’, Ms. Malimali said.

The USP Tonga Campus students, staff, parents and families sealed the event with refreshments and a performance from the Tonga Students Association in celebration of the campus’ historical achievement.

USP Tonga Campus Semester 1, 2018 Orientation

The USP Tonga campus kicked off the golden year with its first event at the Orientation of first year students, held at the Lopaukamea Hall, for two (2) days commencing on the 31st of January. In welcoming the new students on behalf of the Campus Director, Dr. Mo’ale Otunuku, a fellow at the Institute of Education, (IOE) encouraged students to stay focused on their studies and in doing so they would begin to write their own academic success stories. The first day also depicted a graduating student’s story. In sharing, Ms. Hepisipa Pau’u, posed her motivational theme: ‘To succeed, and never to fail’.

The second and final day highlighted the wise words “Be the boss of your brain’, by Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE), Assistant Lecturer, Mrs. ‘Ana Heti Veikune. She stressed the importance of having control over your own decisions as a person and beautifully crafted a vivid picture into a jam packed Lopaukamea Hall. The 2016, 3 time gold medalist Ms. Petina Vi  also shared her story of being a student at Tonga Campus and how she soared into new heights. She advised students on prioritizing their time on important matters in life and to utilize resources the campus has to offer.

The University of the South Pacific Tonga Campus, held its final orientation on Thursday to introduce the campus to eager students joining PacTAFE, FALE, FBE and FSTE. After finishing the formal segment of the day, the students were given a campus tour by the staff and a brief session on independent learning by the student learning specialist, Mr. Peseti Vea.

The smiles and enthusiasm of students heightened as they were treated with lunch by the Campus before marking the end of orientation. As the lecture commences next week the staff of Tonga campus will strive to provide a good learning experience to these new students and many more that wish to join the ‘Api Ko Olokava.’ [Olokava the land on which the campus is located.]


USP Tonga Campus successfully holds Open Day

Beulah College students at our photo booth

The University of the South Pacific’s (USP)Tonga Campus successfully held its Open Day on 28 July, 2017 in two parts.

The first part of the celebrations was at the Annual Heilala Festival Fun Fair which included displays and information for members of the public, an event which attracted close to a thousand people.

Ms Betty Manuofetoa, Teaching Assistant at USP Tonga Campus said there was an overwhelming response and generally the most frequently asked question was whether students can complete their studies in-country.

The second part of the Open Day, named ‘Katoa ki Olokava was more student focused where a total of seven (7) schools participated.

Schools that attended the Open Day included Tonga High School; Beulah College; Liahona High School; Tailulu College;  GPS Pea;  GPS Tokomololo and Footsteps Kindergarten, resulting in an approximate number of 129 participants.

The ‘Katoa ki Olokava’ event was organized as a journey of the facilities, staff and programmes offered at the Tonga Campus where students and members of the public had to go through ten (10) checkpoints with their tour guides.

There were displays by the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education(FALE), Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE), Faculty of Business and Economics(FBE), Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE).

According to Ms Manuofetoa, majority of the students and members of the public commended USP for its role in the region and urged the University to keep up the good work.

USP Tonga- Ha’apai Centre Holds More Skillful Open Day

Pictured: Guest of Honour- Rev .Taniela Manuofetoa (right) and Rev. Pomana Fungavaka.

The USP Ha’apai Centre Staff and students hosted their Open day week on a high note with Student learning skills workshops running from Tuesday 8th to Friday 11th August. Ha’apai Centre Co-ordinator Ms. Talei Ulufonua said that both her team and students were thankful for Student Learning Specialist, Mr. Peseti Vea’s visit.  ‘Students and parents were able to clearly understand what the Grade Point Average (GPA) is and enjoyed the lecture and sharing’, Mrs. Ulufonua said.

Students and visitors were ushered and shown around the classrooms and facilities of the center to which they enjoyed. Guests were also served with refreshments prepared by the Student association.

Centre Co-ordinator Ms. Ulufonua, thanked the Acting Campus Director for her continuous support and also campus SLS for his visionary insights to the parents and students of USP Ha’apai centre.  Students who attended returned with more knowledge about the USP programmes and courses provided to them by the centre staff

Mr. Peseti Vea, the newly inducted Tonga Campus Student Learning Specialist, also represented the Acting Director, Tonga campus, Dr. Seu’ula Johansson- Fua at the Ha’apai Open day to which he termed was a success. The Open day was divided into two sessions with the first session being a dialogue with parents about the University’s expectations of their children and also the services provided at the SLS office.  The second part was the official Open day, where four (4) schools were represented namely; Ha’apai High School, Taufa’ahau Pilolevu College, Tailulu College and ‘Ofa Mo’oni College.

The Guest of Honour at the event was Taufa’ahau Pilolevu College Principal, also USP Masters of Business Administration (MBA) alumni Reverend Taniela Manuofetoa. Also present at the ceremony was Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Pastor, Reverend Pomana Fungavaka, who officiated the welcoming prayer.

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