From a Culture of Silence to a Culture of Change

Proud Tuvaluan Alamai Sioni, is a former teacher who attended the Toku Fou Tiale Tuvalu Family Violence Training Programme.

“It was very informative,” says Alamai, a mother-of-three, who says this is the kind of programme that would benefit members of the community who may not work in the industry and have no access to such opportunities.

“I finished my secondary schooling in Tuvalu before going to the University of the South Pacific in Fiji where I obtained a Bachelor of Education majoring in geography and history.”

After gaining her Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Queensland, Alamai returned to Tuvalu to teach before applying for the Culture Officer role for the Tuvalu Government, which she served in for 10 years.

“I came to New Zealand in 2019, having worked in various governmental and education roles, I kind of know institutions and where to connect and find assistance but my concern is that this kind of training and information doesn’t get to the people.”

Toku Fou Tiale is designed as an informative, interactive, and self-reflective training opportunity for those who are working closely with the Tuvaluan community.

It applies a specific lens on the values and practices of people from Tuvalu to better equip training participants with an understanding of dynamics of family violence in Tuvaluan families.

As someone who grew up in a Tuvaluan household and now leads her own household with her husband, Alamai understands the cultural concepts.

She also understands the anger and frustration of broken lines of communication.

Alamai places an emphasis on the importance of maintaining healthy relationships, whether it be between her and her husband, her children, or her students.

During the programme, a victim of domestic abuse shared her story and how the silence around the issue made it really hard for her to get help.

“It is still very hush,” agrees Alamai who says she cried during the session as she reflected on her own experiences.

“That’s why I said we need to get to the community and show that it’s nothing to be ashamed of because every other community experiences it.

“Back home if the husband is problematic…in a quiet way the wife can talk to the husband- but some people don’t want to listen.

“They prefer to listen to other people before they come to realise that what they’re doing is not acceptable, but they don’t listen to people close to them.”

Alamai sees that her people need to break the culture of silence mentality- that seems to have become intertwined with the term ‘culture’ in general.

“Culture can mold what we are and our behaviours but the culture changes. It’s not something that we can hold onto rigidly,” she explains.

“It’s a dynamic entity so it needs to be taught that the behaviour can change, and they won’t lose face if they change too. Especially if they’re changing to be accommodative to loved ones, to have less of a negative impact on the ones around them who care most for them.”

To register your interest CLICK HERE

For more information CLICK HERE

(story first published HERE)

PASEFIKA PROUD funds and commissions The Cause Collective to deliver the Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu strengths based training programmes to practitioners and community based on the Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu cultural framework to address, minimise and eliminate family violence and sexual violence amongst Pacific families and communities. To this end there are several platforms dedicated to the Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu cultural frameworks which operate in unison.

    1. Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu a Pacific community developed, owned and mandated conceptual framework underpinning Pasefika Proud (encompassing eight ethnic-specific cultural frameworks) - Summary
    2. Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu dedicated website -

Toku fou tiale - A Tuvalu Conceptual Framework to address family violence in New Zealand

Toku fou tiale – the Tuvalu Conceptual Framework was developed for Tuvaluan and non-Tuvaluan practitioners working with Tuvaluan people and families living in New Zealand who are affected by family violence.