Shoot the messenger

29 Feb, 2012
Shoot the messenger
Dr Teena Brown Pulu with her first book, Shoot the Messenger

A controversial book about a report into the reconstruction of the Nuku'alofa Central Business District in Tonga has been launched at AUT University.

The book

The book’s author, Dr Teena Brown Pulu, is a lecturer at AUT and launched the book, ‘Shoot the Messenger’ at the Manukau Campus on Monday night.

Dr Brown Pulu was authorised to write a report by the Tongan Prime Minister on this reconstruction project in April 2011 but its release was later blocked with the report considered “inadequate and unreliable”.

However Dr Brown Pulu says she does not agree.  She believes that the report’s findings not being made public were politically motivated.

“There was a set of assumptions made by the Prime Minister’s advisors that the Nuku’alofa reconstruction project had missing funds and overpriced and substandard buildings.  After I had completed the research, the evidence gathered was to the contrary.  The allegations made by government against the former administration and the construction companies working on the project were simply that; unsubstantiated allegations.”

The riots

The November 16, 2006 riots in Nuku'alofa, the central business district and capital of Tonga burned down 80 per cent of Tonga’s CBD.  A year later the Tongan government signed a multimillion pa'anga loan from China, and reconstruction began.

Dr Brown Pulu’s book publishes the actual report she wrote and sets the research in the political context of Tonga’s democratic reform.  It analyses why the Prime Minister's office felt it should be hidden from the public.

The availability

This is Dr Brown Pulu’s first book and it is on sale for $30 NZD at Te Ara Poutama / Faculty of Maori Development, AUT City Campus, Level 3 Reception, WB Building, Wellesley Street, Auckland.

For more information on the book please email