Andrea Toka – Sista Gat Style

One look at Andrea Toka’s smile and you can tell she is the real deal – a genuine, happy-go-lucky island girl who loves her family and is focused on her studies. We celebrated this Vanuatu sweetheart at Le Lagoon Resort and although it took a while for her to come out of her shell, when she finally did, her potential to shine was limitless.



Andrea Toka



Where are you from?

I am from Ambae. Well, my father is from Ambae and my mother is from Ambae but she is also part Tongoa. I have five siblings. In total there are three girls and three boys in the family and I am the second eldest. We are quite a big family but that’s what makes it more fun because the house is always noisy and there is always someone to annoy haha.


What do you aspire to do in the future?

I would like to complete my studies and further my career in Public Relations. After that, I’ll see how I can build my future from there. Ideally I would like to start any small business that would help my family or have a business that will give back to help my community and people in Vanuatu.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m either on my phone, listening to music, hanging out with my friends, spending time with my family or eating of course haha.

Mostly I am just at home babysitting my younger siblings and baking chocolate cakes since I’m madly in love with chocolates haha. I like to bake and cook.

I also like to play sports. I’ve been playing netball and basketball since I was in primary school and I continue to play now.


What do you study?

I am currently studying Media and Journalism at VIT (Vanuatu Institute of Technology). I am in my first year and there are two years left to complete my course. I can’t wait to finish and see what the future holds.

How would you describe your style?

To be honest, I don’t know how to describe my style. What I wear depends on the weather and I like it bright, plain and simple. I’m either in skinny jeans with T-shirts, shorts and T-shirts or a top if it’s really hot. I hardly wear dresses, it’s mostly a one off for special occasions.

I like fashion because the way a person dresses says alot about him or her as a person. I wonder what mood they’re in and it makes me curious to know who they are, hehe.


Where do you buy your clothes from?

I mostly buy my clothes from the secondhand shops such as JCK, STANLEY IMPORTS, STRET PRICE. Every time I come across a second hand shop, I want to try on some clothes. I just feel like I want to explore something different and see how it looks on me and if I’m comfortable with that style.


Who influences your style?

I guess it’s my younger sister and brother haha, it’s the “t-shirts and shorts look all day every day”. They are both pretty straight forward about what I look good in or not and I pick whatever suits me for the day or occasion but nothing fancy.


What beauty products do you use?

The only beauty products I use would be eyeliner and mascara. Even then, I only occasionally wear make up and mostly if it’s for a special event.


Any fashion advice?

Wear what makes you comfortable and defines who you are as a person. Don’t try to fit in with the crowd and be someone you are not. Whether it is bright colours or dull colours, it’s your choice, just wear it with pride, be happy and celebrate the person you are.

Photography: Nicky Kuautonga

Hair, makeup and nails: Body and Soul

Assistant stylists: Patricia Rakau and Gilbert Mermer

This article was originally published in the October edition of the Vanuatu Daily Post’s Life and Style magazine.


1 Comment

  1. LALA

    Looks and the Likes are breath taking!


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  • Women to be included in the next MSG PM’s Cup

      To promote gender equality in football for Melanesian countries the women’s division will be included in the next MSG PM’s cup. This was confirmed by caretaker Prime Minister Bob Loughman during the opening ceremony at Korman Stadium last Friday. “I’m honored to announce that the next Melanesian PM’s Cup will also include women,” he said. Loughman said it was an honour to be the first Prime Minister of the MSG Group to host the inaugural games and officiate at the historical ceremony. Despite a few teething issues that was faced prior to the tournament, the caretaker Prime minister Loughman believe the one thing that unites people is sports and encouraged youths to engage in it. “I stand to represent my fellow Prime Ministers to welcome everyone to Vanuatu Soil, especially all the teams that are here with us,” he said. “Our Melanesian spirit display in many ways, our culture, the respect we demonstrate that is achieved through sports. “It is indeed an honor for me to be the first PM, to host the first PM’s Cup, it’s not an easy role I know, the next country that will host, it will be easy.” Australia’s High Commissioner Heidi Bootle said; “Sport plays a fundamental role inspiring young men and women to dream big and dedicate themselves to working hard to achieve their dreams.” Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Leonard Louma, said it was a proud moment to see the culmination of a dream “of our MSG Leaders to revive the Melanesian Cup under the banner of the MSG Prime Ministers Cup”. The next host of PM’s cup will be revealed on the final day.   ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

  • Women are to blame for the absence of women in parliament

    Merilyn Temakon, an accomplished legal mind that has contributed not only to establishing labour mobility in the country and intellectual property law, but has also been a long standing advocate of women in politics says women are responsible for the absence of women in Parliament. As the elections for the country’s 13th legislature approaches she raises the concerns of the Ni- Vanuatu Women’s Business and Human Rights Defenders Hub as its representative. A history of the work According to Mrs. Temakon, the Vanuatu National Council of Women (VNCW) was established in May of 1980. Even before the country was independent women understood that the role they played in Vanuatu’s communities and families was special, Ms Temakon stated. Her journey of advocating for women in politics began in 1994 when she served as the President of the VNCW up until 1996. At the national congress of women in Ambaebulu in 1994, a resolution was made by the women in attendance that half of the Members of Parliament have to be women and this was mandated to Temakon as she was elected the President of VNCW. “In 1995 the women gathered and tried to put candidates in the national elections and we had visited every political party in town to ask that they put women up to stand in the elections. No party wanted to do that,” Temakon said. The Vanuatu Women in Politics (VANWIP) was established after that and six women stood in the 1995 election. None won. She stated that she was part of the group that set up the Leleon Vanuatu constitutional party during the Oxfam project rollout of involving women in decision-making. She took up the role of interim President from 2018-2019. “During that time there were reservations already among women to take up positions and not confidence and there was a lot of inviting the position of recognition and power,” Temakon recounted. “Later in the 2020 general elections, the then President of the party stopped all women in the party to stand for the elections which was the whole point of the party to begin with.” The country has laws in place that allow women to take on roles in politics, to allow women to have a seat under the red roof and be the voice of the women. “The fundamental rights in Article 5 allows this for women as well as the Convention of The Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that the country ratified without resolution,” Temakon said. CEDAW is a comprehensive law on the protection of the women of Vanuatu against all forms of discrimination. “Despite these laws being in place, these communities and efforts made to give women a voice in parliament women are still missing in action and that resolution from 1994 is no where near achievement.” The big lie “Women have been living under a fallacy that they cannot stand in front of men and this fallacy is backed by custom that is distorted,” Temakon said. Men have advantages over women physically and with this lie in place women back away from parliament. It is all a lie that has led women to be conditioned and a status quo to be established when women are perfectly able to lead. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is a female, the Prime Minister of New Zealand is a female. Mrs. Temakon makes illustration to the full confidence that everyone has in the food prepared by women when they sit down to eat, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the food will nourish and satisfy when it is put into their bodies but when it comes to leadership, there is little to no confidence in a woman’s ability which is linked to the regressive belief that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. According to the 2020 census 148,422 women make up the population of Vanuatu whereas there are 151,957. The number of women being a fairly large population and with all the laws in place to allow women to enter the red roof, there is no reason for the lack of representation of women in parliament reasoned Merilyn. “We have all the tools but it is our own fault we do not have a place in parliament. It is time for women to self reflect and think what have we been doing this whole time,” Temakon said. The qualities of a standing woman Temakon stated that the continuous misguided decisions of the parliament and affairs of the government and the instability of the Government has come to this dissolution and there has been a big change in the role of leaders, now expecting to be served rather than to serve the people who entrust them to lead. “Maybe if we choose women to lead, there will be less corruption because women are born nurturers, they are wired to be cautious at all time to think about everyone in decision making,” she said. She stated that a women who stand need to be open minded, vocal, aware of the law because in parliament they will be charged with making legislature, what the impacts of these laws will be, they must be willing to serve the constituencies, be of good health and be confident to speak as the voice of women. “These laws are said to represent us all but how can we say they represent us all when we have not been consulted in the making of these laws?” she questioned. The way Temakon noted there are women contesting the upcoming election, and it is time to vote women’s voices into parliament. “Vote women for women,” she said. ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

  • Screenings are the best prevention for Cervical cancer

    Cervical cancer has the longest precancerous stage where cancer tissue can be identified upon screening and removed, so screening is the best prevention. In Vanuatu, cervical cancer and breast cancer are the two top cancers affecting women. We have a higher rate of cervical cancer, high rates of cervical cancer are more common in low-income countries than in high income countries said Doctor Boniface Damutalau, the Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Vila Central Hospital (VCH). According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) data published in 2020 Cervical Cancer Deaths in Vanuatu reached 13 or 0.65% of total deaths. “Our data from the last years show that women in their 40s are most commonly affected and most women with cervical cancer who come for treatment are in late stages and there is nothing we can do,” said Dr Damutalau. The Doctor explained that unlike most cancers, cervical cancer is the only cancer that has a prolonged precancerous period of 10 to 15 years. It is the only cancer where premalignant cancer tissues can be identified through screenings. “Pre-cancer is still not a cancer and that is why screening is so important. If precancerous tissue is identified through screening it is easily removed if not it will develop into cancer,” said Dr Damutalau. “That is why screening awareness for women is so important, because it will detect pre-cancer tissues before it develops into cancer.” Dr Damutalau emphasized this as he stated that the healthcare system can only perform treatment through screening and removing precancerous tissues before it becomes malignant at stage 1. At stage 2 (a), there is a 50/50 percent chance that the cancer tissue removed will not come back. “Once a patient is at stage 2 (b), 3 or stage 4 they have to go abroad to receive chemotherapy or radiotherapy,” he explained. “These therapies cost about 50,000-60,000 New Zealand dollars (VT4,572,930). This amount does not cover other costs for accommodation and blood work that will be needed.” The Doctor stressed that women get screened five years after their first sexual interaction and continue to go in for screenings every 3-5 years and women aged 30-54 years should go in for Human papillomavirus. The VCH, Vanuatu Family Health Association (VFHA) and private medical practices carry out screenings. VFHA will be carrying out cancer screenings on the 23rd of September at the VCH for women who want to get screened. “Vanuatu will launch the HPV vaccinations for adolescent females who are not sexually active in 2023,” Dr Damutalau concluded. ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

  • Health care workers attends gender based violence procedures training

    The Ministry of Health (MOH), through the Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Adolescent Health (RAMNACH) Program, have conducted a training on Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for SHEFA healthcare workers. This training allows the health workers to better understand and develop basic skills to implement the GBV SOPs within the health facilities. The main objective for the training is to help the nurses understand the impact of gender-based violence, the referral system set in place and to know more about their roles as health care workers in terms of proper counselling, giving better treatment to help address the issues of GBV using the SOPs-related forms, processes & practices and to identity challenges face within the health facilities. Director of Planning, Policy and Corporate Services, Dr Samuel Posikai Tapo said in a statement from MOH that this SGBV SOPs is important that all healthcare workers understand their responsibilities and roles to play in the care of survivors of sexual and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). “The community will benefit from the health care services available at all health facilities to manage and assess gender-based violence and sexual assaults, to ensure that survivors health needs are met in the care, treatment and referral to social support services.” GBV, sexual violence including Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) have devastating effects on the lives of women and girls globally as well as in Vanuatu, according to the statement. “According to a recent survey conducted by Vanuatu Women’s Centre, Vanuatu has one of the highest prevalence rates of violence against women and girls, and the highest prevalence of sexual abuse of girls under 15 years in the Pacific and globally,” the statement from the MOH relayed. “Sixty percent (60%) of women who have ever been in a relationship have experience either physical and/or sexual violence by a husband or intimate partner in their lifetime. “More than 68% experienced emotional violence and Intimate Partner violence (IPV) occurs in all provinces and islands, and across all the age groups. “Reports shows that rates are high in rural areas with 63% than in urban areas of 50%. “For most women who experienced physical or sexual violence, it occurs frequently and often severe. Forty percent (40%) of women experience physical violence, followed by rape. “This GBV Standard Operating Procedure presents clear procedure and responsibilities for healthcare providers in primary, secondary and tertiary level health care facilities in Vanuatu for the clinical management of rape, sexual violence and gender-based violence (adult and child). “The SGV SOPs was launched in December 2021. Similar training will be conducted to health workers in other Provinces. “The training is supported and funded by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in partnership with Vanuatu Family Health Association.” _____________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

  • Hope for Deaf People in Vanuatu

    Two specialists from the USA and Canada, Rachel Miles and Rebekah Schumacher from SIL International, have spent the past few weeks in Port Vila working on several projects to support Ni-Vanuatu deaf people. Miles and Schumacher are experts in sign language and education for deaf students. They have been supporting the work of Angelinah Eldad Vira from the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) on the creation of a digital dictionary with signs gathered from adults in each province of Vanuatu. Deaf adults live in many different villages and haven’t had the opportunity to interact with each other, each has their own unique way of signing with their families and communities. The dictionary project is gathering all of the different signs into one place and it will then be a resource for organisations working with the deaf. Miles and Schumacher also spent two weeks at Pikinini Playtime working with their deaf students and special needs teachers. With seven deaf students enrolled, this is the first time a group of deaf children are being educated together, creating the perfect conditions for a full and shared sign language to develop – Vanuatu Sign Language (Storian wetem han blong Vanuatu) – as they interact and learn. As part of her PhD studies at the University of California, San Diego, Miles is documenting the sign language that is emerging at the school. The school aims to have all children and teachers learn some sign language so that the deaf students aren’t isolated, but part of the larger ‘signing’ community. The deaf students enter the school with little ability to communicate, but they quickly begin using the new sign language and then are able to learn, play and make friends. Miles and Schumacher hope to continue to support the efforts of Pikinini Playtime and the MoET with the creation of sign language books and other language development initiatives. Schumacher said, “Over the time that we spent here at Pikinini Playtime, we’ve had the great privilege of building relationships with the children through learning their signs and encouraging them to share and express themselves through their own language. One might expect that a deaf child is often left alone by his peers, but this is not the case at Pikinini Playtime. The deaf students are running around with all the rest, using signs and gestures to play together with their friends, hearing and deaf alike.” The Sign Language program at Pikinini Playtime started with one teacher and four students spending a year at the Fiji Gospel School for the Deaf (GSD). Tony Batten, the Business Manager of Pikinini Playtime said, “We will ever be indebted to the staff of GSD and the sponsors who made this program possible. Through their generosity we were able to train one teacher and start four boys on the pathway to being fluent in sign language. “Now we have teachers in each classroom able to sign with the deaf students. Our Key Teacher in Special Needs, Edikiel Haisoch, is doing an amazing job. She is almost solely responsible for this initiative and is now achieving what will be a first for Vanuatu, deaf children, despite their disability, being able to learn alongside their friends. Together we are demonstrating that we can help to overcome the challenges faced by deaf people in Vanuatu.” In summing up their time at the school Miles said, “It is so exciting to see the work at Pikinini Playtime. As the children and teachers are signing together, they are actually creating a language. This new sign language will be a gift to all the people of Vanuatu.” ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

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