Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Fundraising efforts continue for Tonga as World Bank estimates US $90.4m in damage

Malakai Fekitoa, Lady Shaka and Charles Takotakoca have organised separate fundraisers for Tonga
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Photo: Broadcomfm Broadcasting
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Alice Lolohea | Reporter/Director/Videographer

In a recent disaster assessment report released by the World Bank, it estimates the January 15 eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano and subsequent ashfall and tsunami has caused US $90.4 million (TOP $208m) worth of damage in the Kingdom.

The report goes on to specify damage to agriculture, infrastructure, residential and non-residential buildings, forestry and fishing.

Parts of Tongatapu, ‘Eua and Ha’apai sustained heavy damage, while smaller islands like Mango and ‘Atatā were completely devastated. Tongatapu alone recorded around US $69million in damage while other island groups like Vava’u sustained minimal damage caused by ashfall.

The World Bank provided US $8m of emergency funding to Tonga, to help Tongan families most affected by the tsunami.

International aid will continue to be a major source of support for the country to help it get back on its feet.

Fundraising efforts by international communities and food and basic necessities donated from friends and families overseas have continued to pour into the Kingdom.

DJ and Director of Pulotu Underworld Lady Shaka put out a call to creatives and artists to put together an online concert to raise funds for Tonga. Photo: Holly Sarah Burgess/Luca Walton, Lady Shaka, Midge Perez
DJ and Director of Pulotu Underworld Lady Shaka put out a call to creatives and artists to put together an online concert to raise funds for Tonga. Photo: Luca Walton, Lady Shaka, Midge Perez/Holly Sarah Burgess

Tongan Minister of Finance Hon Tatafu Moeaki was touched by the show of generosity, “we have been moved by the support shown to Tonga and to our people from our friends in the Pacific and across the globe, to assist with our nation’s response and recovery.

“With communications and logistics still a major challenge, this report supported by the World Bank provides us with a clearer picture of the extent of damages from this catastrophe, and will inform our next steps as Tonga builds back stronger,” Moeaki says. 

Other notable artists and sports identities have also jumped on board to support the cause. In Aotearoa, Pacific creative collective Pulotu Underworld is hosting the ‘Project ‘Ofa’ online concert this Friday to raise funds for Tonga.

After seeing the devastating effects of the Tongan tsunami, DJ and Director and Curator of Pulotu Underworld Lady Shaka put a call-out to her fellow artists via Instagram, “I am calling on all musicians, DJs and performers who would be keen to run a concert with Pulotu Underworld to provide aid and support to our Tongan Fānau during this sad time.”

Notable Kiwi artists including Noah Slee, Jess B, Hollie Smith and hip hop group SWIDT have answered the call. Tickets for the concert go on sale this Friday at 5pm – head to the Pulotu Underworld Instagram page for more information.

Malakai Fekitoa and Charles Takotakoca
Malakai Fekitoa and Charles Takotakoca. Photo: Malakai Fekitoa FB / Brya Ingram, Stuff

In sport, Marlborough will host its first Tri-Nations rugby sevens tournament and all its proceeds will be donated to the Tonga Aid Relief Appeal. 

Created by Marlborough Fijians Sports Club members, the tournament was originally created to keep seasonal and forestry workers busy in their spare time. 

But tournament organiser Charles Takotakoca told Stuff, “we started a community rugby team and were looking around for competitions to join, but there was nothing out there. So we thought ‘let’s hold a mini-tournament ourselves’.

“Then, that same week the Tongan eruptions happened, so we thought we’d hold the tournament in aid of our Tongan family.”

Teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will make up the tournament, and the players’ $10 registration fees will also be donated to the appeal.”

Former All Black Malakai Fekitoa who is from Ha’apai, created his own GoFundMe page to aid the fundraising efforts and surpassed his goal of £50,000, raising more than £67,000.

His English club the Wasps also held an ‘All with Tonga’ match last month, with 20% of ticket sales going towards the appeal. 

Tonga is currently dealing with its first Covid-19 outbreak. Tongan Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni confirmed there 197 positive Covid-19 cases today. 7 have recovered and 6 cases returned negative results.



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