- Publish Date
- Friday, 1 February 2019, 12:10PM
VICE has released 'Deportees Of Tonga: Gangsters In Paradise' the latest documentary in the youth media company’s Zealandia series.
VICE travels to Tonga to embed with four criminal deportees as they struggle to reinvent themselves in a country that is both home and not.
There are an estimated 1000 deportees in Tonga—mostly from New Zealand, the US and Australia. Many come from backgrounds of violence, gangs and drugs and have grown up dislocated from their Tongan culture and language. Battling the stigma of their criminal pasts they find it difficult to integrate into life in the small Pacific nation, population 110,000, where jobs are scarce, wages are low and Government support is non-existent.
As American deportee Sione Ngaue says, “We’re judged before they even get to know us. We have a red ‘X’ against us.”
Frances Morton, Head of Content VICE NZ, says, “We’re proud to release the first episode of our Zealandia series filmed in the Pacific Islands. New Zealand is a Pacific nation and there are many important stories happening in our deep blue backyard that go under reported. The number of deportees sent to Tonga is a growing issue with roots reaching across the Pacific to New Zealand, Australia and the US.”
Ursula Williams, the VICE film’s director/producer, adds, “This documentary, at its core, is about displacement, belonging and home. The characters that we meet have done terrible things in their past but despite their best intentions for moving forward and contributing positively to a community that is not fully their own, the stigma they now face isolates them from their only choice of a fresh start. My hope is that this documentary highlights some of the issues surrounding deportation processes for Tongan returnees.”
All episodes will be available to view for free online at vice.com