Thomas is a Li Center for Global Journalism Fellow at Honolulu Civil Beat. The position is supported by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Institute for Nonprofit News. The Li Center was established to prepare journalists to work, think and report globally.
At Civil Beat, Thomas focuses on issues in and around the Pacific.
Having recently completed a Master of Arts at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Thomas has previously worked in regional and national news organizations in New Zealand and Nepal.
A Kiwi by birth, Thomas made his start with a regional daily newspaper in New Zealand, where he covered social issues, health, local politics and general news. He was a finalist for Regional Reporter of the Year at the national media awards for his coverage of regional flooding, and regional health care issues, in his first year of reporting.
Later working for Cuisine magazine and Stuff.co.nz as a food reporter, Thomas wrote about everything from fisheries and agriculture to Filipino pinoy and the country’s national pie awards.
He eventually followed his stomach to the base of the Himalayas, where he worked for The Nepali Times and The Kathmandu Post. At the Post he was deputy culture and arts editor, and wrote long-form pieces about the food industry, culture, tourism, travel, and restaurant reviews. He spent a few weeks trekking too.
Thomas has a propensity for slow travel and secondary fun, and he is always planning the next meal. Despite his army brat upbringing and nomadic life, the Pacific has always been home. He is glad to be back.
Island nations have long been hard-pressed to deal with serious medical conditions and disease. The coronavirus is not helping.
Coast Guard cutter Oliver Berry has spent September patrolling Samoan waters after the Pacific nation’s fleet was left underpowered.
Thousands of Pacific Island workers were stranded in New Zealand and Australia when the pandemic began. Others were stuck at home.
Vaccines likely will be a main item on the agenda.
The effects and memory of U.S. nuclear testing endures in the Pacific. “It is a level up from urgent for us,” one Pacific leader says.