Visual Identity by Karena Bravo.

Ane Fotu

Founder, Malieta Gifts

Fakamaloía he polokalama Shepparton Culture Kitchen, he ngaahi faingamalie kuo ne ómai kia te au mo hoku famili óu lava ai ke vahevahe hoku úlungaanga faka-fonua

Malieta Gifts was established in 2021 by aspiring entrepreneur and online gifting enthusiast, Shepparton-based Ane Fotu.

Having purchased online gift boxes for friends and family during the COVID-19 lockdowns, Ane noticed a gap in the market for Pacific Island products and set up her business to share her Tongan culture with a broader audience. Together with one or two locally made items, Ane’s gift packs include products made in the Pacific Islands along with explanations of their provenance.

Born and raised on the island of Tonga, Ane Fotu migrated to Australia in 2013 for the promise of a better way of living and greater opportunities. Initially settling in Kyabram, her family moved to Shepparton which is now home, and a place where friends have become family. Ane learned traditional recipes and styles of cooking from her mother who was a great cook and entertainer. She loves to grill, BBQ and bake with baking being the closest thing to having an underground oven like ‘back home’. With a big family of six children and husband, she is continually learning and cooking new things and since joining the Shepparton Culture Kitchen, she has discovered a taste for Middle Eastern food.

The longer Ane is away from her home country the more she appreciates her culture and feels proud to be a full Tongan. Living in Australia she has been able to give her children a better life but also tries to teach them their Island culture by involving them in cooking and eating traditional foods. Tongans are known for their love of enormous feasts which play a central role in their culture. Food brings them together as a family, a community. It represents prosperity, generosity and community support.

Image courtesy the creative.