News Release

Pacific Islanders Urged to Draw Strength from Cultural Heritage

For ten days at the end of May, New Caledonians were treated to programs about the heritage of their native peoples by Herewini Jones, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a New Zealander of Welsh and Maori ancestry.

He has devoted much of his adult life to researching the lost cultures of native people in Oceania and America. Herewini grew up at a time when speaking Maori was discouraged, even forbidden.  When he was thirty he decided to learn Maori as a gift to his native mother, who burst into tears of joy when she heard him speak the language of her youth.


His continued study of the Maori and other native peoples, their languages, traditions and cultural symbols found in architecture, tattoos, stories, family names and words led to a realization that most of the problems experienced by Kanaks in New Caledonia and other native Pacific Islanders could best be addressed by drawing on the strengths of their cultural heritage.

Herewini shared his vast knowledge and experience with the crowds who came to hear him in presentations on strengthening families, preventing and overcoming alcohol and drug addiction, suicide, bullying, physical and sexual abuse, and incarceration.

His presentations were followed by lengthy question and answer sessions during which members of the audience shared their heartaches and sorrows as well as their concerns about family members with a sympathetic audience and a trusted and enlightened counsellor.  So impressed were those who heard Herewini Jones that he has been invited to return in August to meet with the High Chiefs of New Caledonia.

His visit and presentations were organized by Sonia and Rika Hotere, Director of Public Affairs and Stake Executive Secretary respectively for New Caledonia Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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