Kaniva is Tongan for the Milky Way that rises over the Pacific every night. Our ancestors used the stars in the Milky Way to navigate across the ocean and to tell them when to fish and when to plant certain crops. Our media and entertainment service provides the same type of vital information for today’s generation. Like the Milky Way our aim is to be watchful, vigilant and to keep shining in the sky over the people of Tonga – wherever in the world they are.
Kaniva News was established in New Zealand in 2009 by its founder, Kalino Lātū. It is read from Sydney to Salt Lake City, providing a service that brings the Tongan diaspora together, spreads ideas and influences how Tongans in the kingdom and in New Zealand see themselves and their future as a diasporic people firmly rooted in their own culture
Kaniva News is a unique news service providing a bilingual coverage of Tongan affairs in Tongan and English. It operates as part of the Ta’angafonua Trust and serves as an outlet and representative of the Trusts’ mission of sustaining, strengthening and preserving Tongan culture, heritage and language by covering events in the global population through its bilingual news service. A number of activities within the broader framework of the Trust also support Kaniva News.
Tongans are among the most educationally aspirational people on earth and have begun to have a distinct impact on the country’s political scene as they enter parliament and government ministries.
Younger Tongans are energetic and socially mobile and complement Kaniva’s older audience of first generation of Tonga settlers in New Zealand.
Reliability/Bilingualism and free of charge
With its reach into the Tongan diaspora, as a news service whose reports are frequently quoted by the local, regional and international media and which is regarded as a reliable and trusted source of information, Kaniva News should, on the face of it, be a profitable business.
Kaniva News and Entertainment is an Auckland-based Tongan news and entertainment services that provides a unique bilingual news, cultural and musical service in Tongan and English using digital print, video, performance and audio.
Access to our website is free. We are the only Tonga/English bilingual news service in New Zealand and the world.
We are the only media outlet which write stories in English and translates them into Tongan. The English version is published at the top of the page with the Tongan version is published underneath.
Writing our stories in Tongan confirms our endeavour to enlighten, inform and entertain Tongans who are not English literate while preserving and sustaining our Tongan language at the same time.
Our news and entertainment activities are focussed on the Tongan community. Our website is full of stories and information that show our vital role in supporting Tongan communities and maintaining their links with the kingdom, culture, human rights, morality, tradition, ethics, religion and families.
We value our Tongan culture, practices and customs. When covering news with links to Tongan customs and practices we explain how they were implemented to our non-Tongan readers in both English and Tongan.
In doing so it helps non-Tongan readers, or younger members of the community who may prefer to read in English, understand our kingdom’s customs.
We are the most engaged Tongan news website on social media. In January 2018 our Facebook page (Kaniva Tonga)had 27, 934 likes. Our Facebook Group (Kaniva Tonga News Website) had 21,952 members. The Kaniva Tonga Facebook (personal account page) had 5,000 friends. According to our website’s google analytic record as at January 2018 we had 510,900 visitors have visited Kaniva.
We also have pages on Twitter, Google Plus, Linkedin, Youtube and Vimeo.
We’re free, we’re socially engaged and committed to our community. An expanding service that supports our culture, Kaniva News and Entertainment uses a variety of digital platforms to reach out to its audience.
We have a radio programme on Planet FM 104.6 that provides people who are not internet users with information from our website. Recently, we expanded our services to include a musical group which promotes the composition and performance of new and traditional Tongan material through live performance and distribution through a range of digital platforms.
The group can be hired for community events. We use music as part of our mission to enlighten and entertain as wide an audience as possible. We analyse classic Tongan songs and explain why the songs were composed, the background of the composers and what the songs mean as a way of interesting the younger generation in the music and lyrics of their culture.
Further developments planned for Kaniva Tonga News include Tongan and English dictionaries and grammar guides, educational pages with basic facts and games pages for younger readers.
According to the 2013 census there were 60,336 Tongans living in New Zealand, a 25% population increase since the beginning of the 21st century. Tongans make up 1.5% percent of the total New Zealand population. A total of 64% of Tongan adults have a formal secondary school or post-school qualification. A total of 80% of Tongans live in Auckland .
Our audience is literate, well educated and growing. As more Tongans in New Zealand obtain tertiary qualifications and enter the professions, they are taking on new ideas, new horizons and new aspirations.
Digital media such as Kaniva News and Entertainment are extremely influential in the Tongan community. While our primary audience is the Tongan community in New Zealand, we also have an audience in the Kingdom of Tonga, the United States and Australia. Kaniva aims to bring the Tongan community to New Zealand and New Zealand and the rest of the world to the Tongan community.
Keeping in touch online:
Tongans are extremely active online. It is common for families to stay connected this way. Tongans living outside the kingdom have connected and formed a new virtual community online that allows them to freely express their opinions, thoughts and promote discussion about all things Tongan within the site rules and regulations. Tongans in Auckland use Tongan online news media to strengthen their cultural, family or political links.
According to Kaniva Tonga News editor and founder Kalino Latu: “Tongan news and social media are the only avenues available to the majority of Tongans living overseas to follow up current affairs and news at home. They keep them up-to-date with the cultural, family and political happenings in Tonga.”