Friday, August 10, 2007


Tione Chinula is an aspiring career focused person who believes in equality. Gender equality is a subject that is close to her heart.
gender issues
She works as the advocacy and communications officer at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Human Development Program in Noumea, New Caledonia.
Tione says she loves her job which she says gives her an opportunity to raise gender related issues.
"I have witnessed disparities between the sexes every where I have been to but nowhere are they more obvious than in the developing world. Although it can be discouraging, I try to accentuate the positive. I admire and am inspired by all the women and men who have enabled progress towards a more balanced society," she said.
"I would like to see that everyone benefits equally in society and there is an equal opportunity for all."
She joined the SPC team last month.
Working at SPC is not a new experience as Tione was involved with the organisation as a consultant in the past, working in what was then the Pacific Women's Bureau and for the HIV/AIDS and STI project.
Tione said that with all the changes afoot, it is an exciting time to come on board. "There's a sense of renewal. It's very motivating to be part of the process. The program has created a new drive and an opportunity to tackle gender, youth and cultural issues and community education more efficiently," she said.
Working with the youth is also a priority area for her.
Youth is an area she is familiar with, having worked for UNICEF New Zealand in 1996.
"Working on issues relating to young people is always very motivating. Young people are dynamic and always so keen to learn and evolve, so it's an area that involves a lot of energy, new ideas and constant change," she said.
Having grown up in South Africa, she always had an interest in cultural issues.
"Just as in the Pacific, culture is part and parcel of life in Africa. In fact there are many similarities between the two regions. African time is the equivalent of Pacific time and the bush wireless in Africa operates along the same lines as the coconut wireless here. On a more serious note though, they have similar values such as hospitality and, in both places, family, in the extended sense, is such an important component of society," she said.
Tione describes herself as a bit of a global citizen.
Her father is Malawian and her mother is a New Zealander.
She was born and grew up in Malawi then moved to New Zealand at the age of 16 to study.
In 1996, she moved to Tahiti where she taught English.
She returned to New Zealand in 1998 to study journalism at Canterbury University in Christchurch.
For the past several years she has been based in New Caledonia working as a travel writer and freelance journalist.
From 2001 to 2006 she wrote several guide books on the Pacific and Africa for the international guide book publisher, Lonely Planet.
In the early 2000s, she was a stringer for Islands Business. Most recently she was a correspondent for Radio New Zealand International. She has produced material for magazines, newspapers and websites around the Pacific and in Australia and New Zealand.
Between 2000 and 2006 she also taught English at the University of New Caledonia and a number of other New Caledonian education institutions.
Tione is married to a French man and has two daughters aged three and three months.
She has never been to Fiji and said she was looking forward to a visit some time in October this year.