Fonua was born and raised in Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand to Tongan lawyer Sione Fonua and British-born mother Julie. He holds dual Tongan and New Zealand citizenship. His family includes two other sisters.
Fonua's swimming career began at the Roskill Swimming Club based at Cameron Pool in Auckland, coached by Sandra Burrow from 1999-2007. He broke numerous Auckland and New Zealand Age Group Records under Burrow's tenure. He then moved to West Auckland Aquatics in 2007, and was coached by Donna Bouzaid. In the Fall of 2008, Fonua enrolled at Texas A&M on a swimming scholarship. He graduated with a Telecommunication and Multi-Media degree, with a Minor in Creative Writing in May 2013.
He was "the first Tongan swimmer to win a gold medal in international competition", when he took gold in the 50 metre breaststroke at the 2010 Oceania Swimming Championships.
In preparation for the 2012 London Olympics Amini was trained by New Zealander and designated head coach for Tonga, Jon Winter. He served as his nation's flag-bearer in the 2012 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations. As a swimmer at the 2012 Summer Olympics, he competed in the Men's 100 metre breaststroke, failing to reach the semifinals.
Fonua makes the journey to Tonga at least once a year to support Tonga's learn-to-swim programme.
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