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Brisbane Tongans honoured with Local Hero Australia Day Community Service awards

26 January 2020

Brisbane, AUSTRALIA: Two dedicated members of Brisbane’s Tongan Community were honoured today during the Local Heroes Australia Day Community Service Awards at the Oxley Bowls Club on Brisbane’s west side.

An elite group of deserving recipients were the result of a vigorous selection process aimed at recognising the ongoing dedication and exceptional contribution of volunteers in various fields and industries across Brisbane.

L-R Back Row: Siale Molitika, Mele Ngauamo, Dick Milton MP, Mikaele Ngauamo L-R Front Row: Rev Maile Molitika, Sulieni Layt, Lu‘isa Santos, Mateaki Finau, Makoni Layt

Rev Maile Molitika and Mrs Mele Ngauamo, both active members of the Brisbane Tongan Community, were nominated, shortlisted and selected by Cr Steve Griffiths from the Brisbane City Council Moorooka Ward for the honours this year.

Mount Ommaney MP Jess Pugh with Rev Maile and Siale Molitika

Rev Maile Molitika has served for seven years as the resident Minister of the Uniting Church of Australia Tongan Congregation at Highgate Hill, whilst he dedicates many volunteer hours a week in a range of activities, including co-ordinating fund raisers, championing respite programmes, broadcasting spiritual devotions, not to mention his leadership role as President of the Brisbane Tongan Community Inc.

Meanwhile, Mrs Mele Ngauamo (nee Manu) has been an active volunteer broadcaster with the Voice of Tonga on Brisbane’s multilingual broadcaster Radio 4EB FM since 1988 and has served on community boards, fund raising events, respite care and as Treasurer of the Brisbane Tongan Community Inc.

Both Rev Maile and Mele have represented the Tonga High Commission locally at events with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“It’s so humbling to see two of our fellow Tongans recognised for their tireless efforts in serving as volunteers to build our community,” said Sulieni Layt, Public Officer for the Brisbane Tongan Community.

We all enjoy the fruits of successes for our people, but it’s the sacrifices of time, finances and at times, set-backs, by a dedicated few that often go unseen, that inevitably become the heartbeat of our thriving Tongan Community,” Sulieni added.

The Australia Day Awards followed a mass Australian Citizenship ceremony and were open to volunteers living in or active members of community groups based in the Moorooka, Oxley and Teneriffe Wards of Brisbane City Council.

Cr Steve Griffiths said, “The awards recognise the work of volunteers whose selfless efforts have helped to improve the lives of others and who have helped to build community spirit, resilience and identity in the local area.”

Australia Day falls on 26th January each year and is often utilised for recognising the achievements of all Australians as well as Australian Citizenship ceremonies across the continent.

Media Contact: Sulieni Layt via email on or mobile on +61(0) 420 639 764.


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