Dispute between rival body building organisations flares again with demands to hand over gym equipment

A years-long dispute between two rival bodybuilding federations in Tonga has heated up again.

Talaiasi Nau

Lawyers acting for The Tonga BodyBuilding Federation (TBBF) have sent a demand to Talaiasi Nau, head of a rival body, demanding that it return gym equipment that was shipped to Tonga from Australia and which it said was the legal property of the TBBF.

The Federation also demanded that Nau stop using the TBBF name on social media and that it hands back any money obtaining through using the TBBF name.

It threatened legal action if its demands were not met.

The two groups both call themselves the Tonga Body Building Federation and fight over control of the national sports body.

The group led by Nau is recognised by the Tonga Amateur Sports Association and National Olympic Committee (TASANOC).

The other group, which has threatened legal action, is led by Tofavaha Tuifua and is recognised by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Sports. In the past Tuifua’s group has received significant government funding.

The TBBF was established in 2009, with Tuifua as first president. After he  left to live in Australia, a new board was elected and continued to run as the TBBF. Secretary of the TASANOC-recognised TBBF board Mary Nau told Matangi Tonga in 2019 that Tofavaha had returned to Tonga after 10 years away and wanted to use the name of the TBBF.

Nau also had a long running dispute with former business partner and President of the Tonga Body Building Association, Masanao Onodera, over the ownership of gym equipment.

The Supreme Court ruled this belonged to Nau. However, in 2022, Onedera demanded pay $15,400 to settle the long running legal dispute.

In 2016 the South Pacific BodyBuilding Federation voted to take disciplinary action against Nau for bringing the SPBBF into disrepute.

Kaniva News has contacted Mr Nau for comment.

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