The French territory of Wallis in the South Pacific now has two Kiwanis clubs.
By Julien Le Ray, PR and communications chair, New Zealand and South Pacific District
In August 2022, Michelle Cordioli and Daniel Hinschberger went to a very small island for a very big occasion. The island of Wallis sits in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. Along with the islands of Futuna and Alofi, it’s part of a French territory — one of the farthest from mainland France, at 16,000 km, with about 12,000 inhabitants.
In fact, Wallis is far from many places in the world. But the trip was worth it for Cordioli, Kiwanis International’s New Zealand and South Pacific District governor, and Hinschberger, lieutenant governor of Division 6.
A determined and courageous woman, Sofia Logologofolau, brought together 70 people from education, hospital, tourism and administration backgrounds to form two Kiwanis clubs on Wallis. The effort took two years to organize because of the pandemic.
As a French territory, this small traditional Polynesian kingdom maintains many links with New Caledonia. For this reason, some Kiwanians — such as Angela Keletaona, Marie Sealeu and Lina Polutele — joined Caledonian Kiwanians from Wallis and Futuna to take part in the club-building project.
The two Kiwanis clubs are named Mafu Ofa Tahi and Mafu Ofa Lua — meaning Generous Heart 1 and Generous Heart 2 in the Walisian language. Both clubs are active on the island, with members visiting a class of kids with disabilities, elders in need and mothers far away from their families at the island’s maternity hospital.
Logologofolau introduced Kiwanis with respect and humility to Lavelua (meaning King), to the bishop, to the prefect and political leaders, but also to the society of the island where the members of the Kiwanis delegation were received like princes with much honor and large smiles.
The visit to Wallis ended with the evening presentation of charters to the clubs and pins to the new Kiwanians, with the promise to meet again soon with the sponsor clubs Kiwanis Kenu Noumea and Kiwanis Tiare Paita.
Now the sister island of Futuna and its two kingdoms are already calling on Kiwanis to create a club there.