Anna Jane Lagi
My name is ANNA JANE LAGI. I was born on the 30th of December, 1999 in Vaiola Hospital, Tofoa in the Kingdom of Tonga. My father is Viliami Paelata Vea and hails from Neiafu, Vava’u whilst my mother, Emma Jane Jupiter Vea is from Ha’ano, Ha’apai, both different island groups in the kingdom. I have two younger but taller siblings, my brother William and sister Naule’o. I studied in Tonga Side School from 2005 to 2012, and then Tonga High School from 2013 to 2017.
Afterwards, I worked at the Public Service Commission of Tonga for a couple of months in 2018 before winning a scholarship to continue my studies in Fiji. I am currently a third year student at the University of the South Pacific, Laucala Campus. This is my final year of pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Sociology and Psychology. It is also in Fiji that I met Solomoni Qurai Lagi of Hapmak, Rotuma, of whom I married earlier this year. As you are reading this, we may or may not already be holding our first-born child that we excitedly await as I write this biography. I have been a born-again Christian since 2013. I grew up as a member of the Free Weslyan Church (F.W.C) in Havelu, but am currently a member of Every Nation Fiji. I have been blessed with many opportunities to share and sharpen my craft for writing and speaking through associations with Non-Government Organizations like Scripture Union Tonga, Seleka International Art Society Initiative (S.I.A.S.I), Autism Tonga and Tonga Youth Leaders, to name a few as well as participation in poetry, essay and speech competitions. Many rewarding experiences include performing pieces at art exhibitions, fundraisers and trips to New Zealand in 2015 and France in 2016 after winning a speech and essay competition to mark the 100th Anniversary of ANZAC landings at Gallipoli in WWI and 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in WWI respectively. After having the good fortune to receive an Australia Awards Pacific Scholarship to study in Fiji in 2019, I have had even more opportunities to be involved in events and workshops that have reinforced my passion for art, music, social progress and youth development.
It was also an honor to have one of my poems published for the first time, in “Poetry Anthology Collection: Rising Tide” in 2020. All the issues I advocate for in my art; whether it be suicide prevention, ending domestic violence, or helping sexual abuse victims, are a fragment of my own story. I move forward to care because I serve a God who cared first. A God who through divine intervention and other believers, fought for me when I felt like my family was slipping away, expectations were higher than my intrinsic value, and my story of sexual harassment was not believed. I am no longer a product of whatever “culture” I have been raised or am living in, I choose to be a culture maker.