To coincide with the launch of the film at the Hawaii International Film Festival this talanoa was organised in collaboration between Brigham Young University and the Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii.
There were 35 participants.
1.16 First Question- Tēvita O. Ka’ili
Associate Professor of International Cultural Studies and Cultural Anthropology-Chair of the Department of Cultures and Languages-Brigham Young University–Hawai’i.
Can you explain a little bit the research method of doing ethnography, visual anthropology, the process that you took, learning the language and so forth?
6.53. Tēvita O. Ka’ili
Some have been thinking on the role of power within anthropology, and decolonising anthropology. I want you to talk a little bit about your positionality as a palangi anthropologist doing work in Tonga and what sort of possibilities and limitation that created for you and how you navigated those particular issues of power relating to you as a researcher outside of Tonga and doing research in Tonga? What were the power relations involved within that?
13.57 Ulise Funaki-Graduate student in Cultural Anthropology, University of Hawaii.
In your film you definitely recognised your positionality in relation especially to Emeline and to Mapa . For me it seemed that your film was very different, there was not this guise or feeling that Tongans need our help, that Tongans are so faka’ofa (pitiable), that they need all the help they can get from us living in the West to provide them with our great knowledge. Was it your intention to show a Tonga that they are trying and that there are good people working in Tonga, and yes there may be a lack in some areas. Was it your intention to show that there are people in Tonga doing the best they can with what they can and in a very Tongan way?
20.27 Amelia Matele Pasi-Hawaii -Tongan Language Teacher at BYU
Recounts her experience of being cured of a skin condition in Tonga.
You have been exposed to the traditional Tongan medicine and medicine nowadays, do you feel that at some point you have to go to a doctor?
Theme of discussion:
Efficacy, Tevita’s Condition, Frames of explanation
29.55 Comment – Tēvita O. Ka’ili
And this is the part I really like about your film that you put both the traditional healing practices and the biomedical western practice on the same level, that they are both useful in treating certain kinds of sickness, and they both have a role, because sometimes there is a privileging of the biomedical perspective, and even Tongans have internalised this to the point that we look down at our traditional practice, and that might be an influence of Christianity or other ideologies that have come to Tonga but I like that about your film that you are able to show that both are efficacious in the way that they treat the different sicknesses.
30.53 Dr Line-Noue Kruse-Teacher of Pacific Island Studies at BYU, Laie
Your last answer to the question blew my mind, to be honest. The use of split frame, comparing formal schooling and what we experience at home.
When you were filming was it your point to bring to light the opportunities of embracing both knowledges? Because I used to be a national planner in Samoa and I can’t tell you how many time when you speak to mental health, when you are trying to create national plans it is such a very delicate and sensitive topic, particularly when you have religious clergy, or police commissioners and ministries. There is almost a combativeness when you bring in that word. Right when I saw in your documentary, the words Pychiatry Unit , once you bring in Psychiatry or Clinical Intervention there is this wall that goes up. It is very hard to tackle that. When you did that split frame, for me it was so powerful, just to my mana, I really spoke to it. Were you trying to show your viewership that there are opportunities in the Kingdom to embrace both without trying to create this binary that either traditional medicine makes you Tongan or you go to the hospital and you at not Tongan? There are conversations we have at home, we don’t like to talk about in public, you do this, then you are this. You do that, then you are palangi. I guess I want to ask you was that your intention, and do you think by reflecting Emeline’s work with the Psychiatrist opportunity to bring Psychiatry into the village, do you think you have opened up space for dialogue in ministries and also in families like what Ulise was saying?
Collaboration and the New Zealand context.
41.38 Li Fen -Film Studies BYU
The first few minutes of the film was the only time you put yourself in the frame and we actually see and hear you there. I was hoping, I was thinking I would get to see some of your own healing experiences. After you landed there you removed yourself, from that narrator’s space and you reconfigured, it is not participatory anymore is it observation, you are led by your subject matter unfold and tell the story. I liked the transition of the reconfiguration of the space of the va, and it is very appropriately used as the password for the film. So I am very curious if you did that intentionally to remove yourself from that and only occasionally we hear your voice throughout the film and you let the key players reveal themselves ?
48.30 Silvia Tatafu-Auckland -Studying at BYU-minoring in Pacific Island Studies
Did a project on Tongan Traditional healing. A daughter and granddaughter of a Tongan traditional healer. What most shocked you about Tongan traditional healing especially coming from a non-Tongan perspective ?
56.47 Kathryn Ukau’u Omae. PNG. Lived for a time in Tonga.
Are you supporting collaboration?
1.01.21 Ma’ungakoloa Falevai
Witnessed many traditional healing, seeing miracles of babies being healed. To me as I hear you Mike, there is a need for Doctors and traditional healers to come together and talk. Suggests doctors research more the plants that traditional healers are using. I believe in your statement that there is a need for doctors and traditional healers to come together, more research and taken in to medicinal practices just from using those plants.
Discussion about tevolo and fa’ahikehe
1.12 Tēvita O. Ka’ili
I am interested in Mapa indigenizing psychiatry using concepts such as ‘avanga and his use of treatment, faikava, kava club and taking some of this patients, clients to the bush to have them reconnect to the fonua. I just like to hear a little more of your thoughts on Mapa and his approach to psychiatry and mental health. It seems to me he is doing something that the medical doctors are not doing in their particular field.
1.17.41 Ivau -Student at BYU
From your film we can see that traditional healing and western medicine satisfies certain ends. Some of them intersect, some of them are different. Would you say that part of the problem today is a mistrust of either or in Tonga? What would you say a better way of healing the population would look like?
1.24.30 Final Thank you Tēvita O. Ka’ili