Tongan student to attend World War I commemorations in France

A Tongan student who won the secondary school essay competition to mark a World War 1 100th anniversary  will attend the memorial event in France in September.

Miss Anna Jane Vea was announced the winner on ANZAC Day and she will “join a New Zealand delegation comprising winners from Niue, Samoa and Cook Islands in France…”.

The essay competition for the Tongan students was run by the New Zealand High Commission in Tonga to mark 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in the First World War.

‘Ana Jane Vea. Photo/Supplied

The competitors were encouraged “to develop a greater understanding of the impact of the First World War on both Tonga and New Zealand”.

A statement from the New Zealand High Commission said: “Miss Vea’s winning essay spoke about what the sacrifices made by Tongan and Allied troops in the First World War and what it meant to her.  Aimed at preserving the World War I legacy in Tonga, the competition has increased understanding among youth of the Pacific contribution to the war effort and to their sense of identity today”.

“New Zealand High Commissioner Sarah Walsh announced the winners of the essay competition on ANZAC Day.  Stephaney Lakai of Vava’u won second place, and Sailosi Bloomfield and Malia Ekuasi received prizes for their highly commended entries.

“The competition has demonstrated the writing talents of Tonga’s young people and provided an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of the important contribution made during World War I by Tongan soldiers and other Pacific Islanders,” said New Zealand High Commissioner Sarah Walsh.



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