New play set against background of 2006 Tonga riots

Award winning Tongan director Suli Moa's latest play Burning Opinion is set against the background of the 2006 riots.

18th February, 2020

New play set against background of 2006 Tonga riots

The lead up to the notorious Black Thursday riots in Tonga is the setting for award-winning writer Suli Moa's latest play.

Burning Opinion is set in Nuku'alofa in 2006 and follows the lives of seven characters ahead of the riots. 

Moa told Pacific Breakfast that although the riots are the setting, they're not the main focus of his play. 

"Burning Opinion is based on seven characters, all at different walks of life, and one event brings them together which is the riot.

"I'm trying not to make it a political play but concentrating on the relationships of people."

He says it took him a long time to create and write the play and to get it right. 

"It was real hard because it was such a big event.

"With the riots, it was where do we go from here?"

Moa was able to reflect on the uncertainty of moving forward from significant life events, which he then used to shape his storytelling.

"When big things happen in our lives, big events, its either sink or swim"

"With the riots it was where do we go from here? as individuals, as a community, as people."

With his showcase coming up, Co-director of Tales from a Kava Bowl Suli Moa, encourages aspiring creatives like himself to persevere and not to miss the boat of opportunity. 

"Just be patient, keep working on your craft, cause if you give up, you never know what opportunity is coming. So if you're given up, you'e missed the boat." 

He further assures up and coming talent that their hard work will pay off.

"Just be patient, keep working on your craft...something will happen, its bound to happen."

The show will be held at Auckland Town Hall on the 25th, 26th and 27th of February. To book tickets head to