News Story

Global Family History Conference Shines a Light on South Pacific 

RootsTech Connect involves over one million people

Over one million people registered for this year’s online RootsTech Connect family history conference. The meeting was broadcast live over a three-day period from 25-27 February. Hundreds of thousands watched it live, including many in the South Pacific, even though many sessions were shown in the middle of the night.


Several keynote speakers, presenters and other participants at the conference live in the South Pacific region or have family ties here. Here are a few examples:

  • Will Hopoate was born in New South Wales, Australia, of Tongan descent and is an international rugby league footballer who plays for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the National Rugby League (NRL). In his keynote interview, Hopoate talks about growing up in Australia in a large Tongan family, his own young family and his missionary service. See his interview here
  • Nick Vujicic was born in Australia, without arms and legs. Despite his obstacles, Nick persevered and developed a sense of hope, and found his purpose: encouraging other people to overcome their trials through his motivational speaking. As he says, “When you don’t get a miracle, you can be a miracle for someone else.” Watch here.
  • Amos Watene from New Zealand entered the RootsTech Song Contest and was one of four finalists in the amateur division. When he’s not singing, he oversees digital, print, web and social media publishing for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pacific Area. He has done many studio, stage, artistic and musical productions including children’s television. You can listen to his song here.
    Amos Watene was a finalist in the RootsTech Song Contest with his music video, "Feels Like Home." New Zealand, February 2021.© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Miyamoto Loretta Jensen is known as the “Polynesian Genealogist” on social media and is FamilySearch’s Pacific Island records and oral genealogies analyst. Her sessions are Beginner Polynesian Genealogy and Oral Genealogies in Oceania: Challenges and Opportunities.
  • Fiona Brooker presented Tracing ANZACs and Their Families - She tells how military records, including World War I Australian and New Zealand Army Corps have more information than just service during the war that can be used to research your family history.
  • Linahei Dauphin is a young Tahitian woman and a family history consultant in the Farahei Ward, who found 150 names in her genealogy. Watch her tell her inspirational story here.
  • Michelle Patient is an Australian genealogist, now resident in New Zealand, whose presentation From Convict Stain to Royalty explains early Australian convict colonization.
  • Michael Higgins is from Auckland and works for FamilySearch representing the organisation across New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. One of his sessions, Learning from New Zealand Passenger Lists can help tie New Zealand heritage back to an initial homeland.

RootsTech is hosted by FamilySearch, and sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All of the content for the conference can be viewed on the RootsTech Connect website here.


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