A house in Auckland

By Todd Henry

The hunters and the hunted (Issue II/2021)

  • The Mesui family home is located in the Auckland suburb of Mangere. Photo: Todd Henry

    The Mesui family home is located in the Auckland suburb of Mangere. Photo: Todd Henry

  • Many family photos decorate the living room of Stone and Niki Mesui. Photo: Todd Henry

    Many family photos decorate the living room of Stone and Niki Mesui. Photo: Todd Henry


The owners of this bungalow in a suburb of the New Zealand city of Auckland are Sione and Nisi Mesui.  They left their homeland, the island nation of Tonga, in the late 1980sIn search of work and better educational opportunities for their six children. To stay afloat in New Zealand, they imported goods from Tonga and sold, among other things, the traditional South Pacific drink kava. This earthy, bitter-tasting drink is made from the roots of the kava plant and has a mildly relaxing effect.

In the meantime, Sione and Nisi Mesui have over thirty grandchildren and great-grandchildren and travel frequently to Tonga. The couple is enjoying their retirement in Auckland, even though many long-established residents now complain about the city's development. Here, too, in the suburb of Mangere, many plots of land have been bought up by investors for years in order to build modern flats. The city is becoming more and more crowded. Meanwhile, in Sione and Nisi's house, which has been renovated several times, much has remained the same, for example with its furniture made of reeds, the kava bowls and the many family photos.



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