Paul Toua, Special Counsel of PLN Australia
Q. Where did you grow up and why on Earth did you decide to be a lawyer?
A. I was born in Rabaul in Papua New Guinea but after Grade 2, my parents moved to Fiji when my father was appointed as the High Commissioner for PNG to Fiji. I spent the next 10 years in Fiji but returned to PNG to complete grade 11 and 12.
I decided to become a lawyer, almost by default. I wanted to be a diplomat but the intake wasn’t until mid year so I took up the law instead.
Q. Being a boy with mixed Fiji and PNG heritage, who would you support at the South Pacific Games, and why?
I have divided loyalties so I support both nations. I enjoy all forms of sport so it’s a pleasure to watch the best athletes from both nations competing in the South Pacific Games. A few of my friends in both countries are heavily involved with developing their respective sporting codes so it’s been great to catch up with them to see how they are doing.
Q. What do you think makes the Pacific such an interesting place to work?
A. The range of diversity and culture of each pacific nation makes things interesting; however, it’s the people that define one’s experience. There is a certain kinship between people of the pacific and interaction is often a positive and enriching experience.
Q. What is the most important thing the Pacific has taught you?
A. Growing up in the Pacific taught me a lot about respect and humility. Living in Australia, I found that I take a lot of things for granted. In the Pacific, a lot of the things I take for granted, just don’t exist. Simple pleasures such as piped water or even hot water continue to be a challenge in some parts of the Pacific.
Q. How about food? What is your favourite foodie destination in the Pacific?
A. Fiji, definitely. I love traditional Fijian dishes such as kokoda (raw fish cooked in lemon and coconut), palusami and vakalolo !!!
Q. How about achievements? Is there something you have done which you are particularly proud of during your professional years working in the Pacific?
A. Yes, I was once the Chief Legal Officer for the Bank of South Pacific in PNG and when I was there, the Bank acquired its first overseas bank (Westpac’s interest in Niue). Since then, the Bank has expanded to 6 pacific nations so I’m proud to have been there at the start of the acquisition process.