Coral, Christianity and Vote Boxes

A couple of years ago I sat in a Pacific Island History class at university where I was told by a visiting speaker ‘that just like the rest of the world Christianity’s stranglehold on the pacific was going to soon come to an end’ At the time I nearly choked on the end of my pen and thought that was a horrific idea. However now I am not so sure and I do believe that something has to be done about the ‘Christianity’ that is practised in some Pacific Islands.

Let me introduce you to Tokelau, population 1466, and made up of 3 islands. Most of all I want you to meet Iosua Faamaoni head of the local Congregational Church. The biggest thing happening in Tokelau lately has been the recent vote from independence from New Zealand.

On Atafu (one of the atolls) Iousa Faamaoni has just built a church. This is all well and good, except the people desperately needed a School. On top of that those who disapprove of Faamaoni are forbidden from entering the church, they’re called “the Taleban.” Also the church is firmly locked when followers are not there.

Faamaoni, in 1992 announced that six years earlier he had sexually abused a 12-year-old. He briefly left the atoll, as the girl was to later. After asking forgiveness he was re instated to his position but as much as half of the island (with links to the girl) refuse to forgive Faamaoni for his actions. Interestingly after publicly admitting his guilt no charges have been bought against Faamaoni and even worse the LMS Church of which the Tokelauan Congegational church is a part has done very little in the matter of the sexual abuse or in getting rid of Faamaoni (evidently according to one source it would be too hard to do as he is too well supported)

Faamaoni’s latest quotable quote: The other day just before the vote for independence, “let us above all put our love of God, our love for each other above everything else that we do. May that be our guiding light, our guiding force.”

I pray that someone will truly wake up and answer Faamaoni’s prayer…. For the sake of a woman and a whole people.

For more I highly reccommend this link

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5 thoughts - add yours!:

  1. Lani Says:

    Y'know... I actually agree about Christianity in the Pacific Islands. I remember going tp Samoa last year and talking to a cousin about the faafafine (men dressing up as women). He totally believed that God hated them and would ostracise them. That got us talking about the Bible and Samaritans.

    Pacific Island Christianity has almost taken a bit of a backwards step towards legalism. It's kinda heartbreaking because I know that post the Pacific Island Christendom generation, there will probably be a conforming to Western secularism or even possibly back to paganism.

    I'm moving to Samoa soon and one of the things I'm really not looking forward to are the churches and the religiousness of it all. I cringe every time I hear the deacon reading out how much each family has given by way of taulaga (offering), because they know how shameful it is to give a small amount. I want to throw up when the same man reading about love and grace in the pulpit, is the same drunken man from the night before who cheated on his wife and shouted obscenities down the street. Even here in New Zealand, it makes me sick to see how impoverished members of the congregation are becuase giving to the church comes first. And then you see the minister rolling in the dough.

    But it's not all wrong. I think Christian ethics and values existed there before the missionaries came long (lol maybe not cannabalism). The Pacific Islands have far more of an idea about community and 'whanau' than the West does. There's the whole thing of 'manaaki' that they've got going on (looking out for eachother).

    There are some beautiful cultures in the Pacific. But like most cultures, they're littered with human pain, suffering and sinfulness.

    far out... I may as well just write a whole post haha! Ok I'll finish up now...

    peace out!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    You bloody idiots, leave my island (Atafu) alone. I know who you are. You low life.

  3. Lisa Says:


    1) If you are going to insult people at first have the decency to use your name

    2) You were writing from Australia, Hutsville in fact so you are not even on Atafu so tell me why you are claiming it as 'your personal island'

    3) Why should we listen to you if you don't even choose to give us an argument or reasons?

    4) No I am not going to be quiet

  4. Lani Says:


    I noticed you used the plural when refering "idiots" so I assume you are also referring to me.

    If I have offended you in anyway, I apologise for any wrongdoing on my part. However, it is my belief, that I have stated nothing of offence to anyone except maybe the island which claims my own cultural heritage.

    Besides, no one was taking a dig at "your Island". We were taking digs at the injustices going on in "your Island" just as we would if the same injustices were happening in NZ or anywhere else for that matter. "Your Island" just happens to be in the unfortunate position of centre stage limelight at present.


  5. justice Says:

    The drama's going on in Atafu reflect the state of the people - even more so the good shepherd that guides them.

    Atafu is also part of my heritage and I have to say I feel downright embarrassed at the actions dominated by the elders and council.

    Who in their right mind would re-employ a man guilty of raping a 12yr minor?
    What safeguards are in place for the children in Atafu should this happen again?
    It's nice that he FINALLY confessed his wrongdoing - but putting back in his position only to offend again?
    What therapy did he undertake to change his ways (apart from the many prayers he's repeated year in and year out)?

    Is it just me or are our kin folk back home too simple-minded???