TONGAN SCHOLAR PLANS DEMOCRACY FORUM

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Christchurch political scientist to distribute handbook

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, August 3, 2009) - A group of university staff and students from New Zealand are to visit Tonga later this month to distribute a booklet outlining basic democratic concepts.

The 100 page booklet, in Tongan and English, has been prepared by Dr. Malakai Koloamatangi, a Tongan political scientist at Canterbury University.

He says around 5,000 of the booklets will be distributed around Tonga at public meetings which will feature discussions about the new, more democratic system in the Kingdom.

Dr. Koloamatangi told Pacific Beat, this was not an example of an outside political concept being imposed on people, but simple an exercise in helping Tongans better educate themselves.

"What I’m trying to do, this is my bit, if you like, for the reform process in Tonga, is to try and help Tongans to understand and to participate effectively in creating a future for themselves," he said.

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