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Tongans Overseas

Not bad to be different, Tony Finau tells “First Step” youth

Long Beach, California

Participants in a “First Step” workshop. Longbeach, California.

American pro golfer Tony Finau has opened up about his Pacific heritage and is commited to helping and motivating others in the United States who also come from humble backgrounds.

In a video series called “First Step” Tony Finau gave a motivational speech at a leadership workshop in Long Beach, California. “I came from very humble beginnings and I like to share that with people that were born in the same situation and let them know that things can be different,” he said.

My dad is Tongan and my mum is Samoan, and I’m very proud of being from the South Pacific. It’s never a bad thing to be different, were definitely different because there’s not a lot of us. It’s all about family, you know back in the islands that’s all we have. Really, honestly – it’s each other.”

 Attending the workshop Fraser Tauaivale also shared his convictions, saying, “Something I struggled with was kind of where do I fit in? I allowed my depression to lead me in to places where I should have never been and because of that it affected my schooling and it affected my relationships. It kind of limited me to believe that the vices of the neibourhood was where I would find my success – I hated a lot of things about me and because of that I hated people who looked like me. I felt like if I can’t trust myself then I can’t trust my own people.”

Tony talked about the “Tony Finau Foundation” he set up last year to support underprivileged children and their families.

I started my own foundation… trying to inspire and empower people to know that situations can change, and I hope to be able to reach as many people as I can. We all have a different story but were connected as one through our culture.”

For the most part we all come from the same tree. At least we have each other and we can make a change. It starts from the ground up and I’m happy to come back to where I know my roots are, and really try to see where I need to start.”

Tony is the first Golfer of Tongan ancestry to win a PGA tour open.

To see the “First Step” video of Tony Finau and others, click the following link