Tagata Pasifika The Pacific voice on New Zealand television since 1987

Hunga Recovery Fund and other relief efforts for Tonga

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
NEMO delivering bottled water to Mango on the day of the eruption. Photo: NEMO
NEMO delivering bottled water to Mango on the day of the eruption. Photo: NEMO
Alice Lolohea | Reporter/Director/Videographer

Calls for donations and support have echoed across the Tongan community Since the January 15 eruption.

Tonga’s Speaker of the House, Lord Fakafanua, mentioned earlier this week that the Tongan government would establish its own relief fund, “so that those looking to help can contribute directly to Tonga’s relief efforts.”

“To ensure the help kindly offered reaches those in need, we must ensure relief funds are verified, transparent and legitimate.”

On Thursday, the Tonga Consulate in Auckland shared the details for the Hunga Recovery Fund to social media, along with a brief message.

“We have been overwhelmed with gratitude, for the support and prayers for our beautiful country Tonga.”

People are able to donate directly to the bank account listed in the post.

The Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee was also formed this week with co-chair, New Zealand MP Jenny Salesa, appealing to Tongans and non-Tongans who want to help.

She told 1News, “we can take the likes of bottled water, grocery items, things to assist with cooking and in the garden, which can go to families in the villages that don’t have any relatives overseas.”

The Committee is currently hosting a drop-off at Mt Smart Stadium from 9am-8pm until Saturday 22 January.

This is an opportunity for people to send care packages and essential items to their families back in the Kingdom.

A number of drums will be available, however Salesa has encouraged people to try and bring their own.

VOEA Ngahau Siliva delivered bottled water tot he residents of Mango on the day of the eruption. Photo: NEMO
VOEA Ngahau Siliva delivered bottled water to the residents of Mango on the day of the eruption. Photo: NEMO
The committee are looking for non-perishable food items such as:
  • Rice
  • Bottled Water
  • Cooking Oil
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Canned foods such as tinned fish and meat
  • Toilet Paper
  • Tents, Kerosene lamps, torches, rechargeable lanterns.

Each family will be allowed one drum each and the contents will be checked before stocking.

A few Tongan international sporting figures are also helping out.

Olympian Pita Taufatofua teamed up with the Australian Government and UNICEF to send supplies via the HMAS Adelaide, which will arrive later this week

Taufatofua shared on Facebook, “we thank the Australian government who has helped facilitate these emergency supplies from UNICEF which include emergency water, water sanitation and hygiene supplies along with recreational kits to keep the spirits of the youth high!
“Though this is the first load to head across to Tonga, there is still much to be done and we continue to push for help from all around the world.”
Taufatofua also launched a fundraiser which has raised over $500,000 so far.
Taufatofua worked together with UNICEF and the Australian Government to send to essential aid to the Kingdom. Photo: Pita Taufatofua FB
Taufatofua worked together with UNICEF and the Australian Government to send to essential aid to the Kingdom. Photo: Pita Taufatofua FB

Rugby player Malakai Fekitoa who was born and raised in Ha’apai has also established a GoFundMe page.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Fekitoa said he still hadn’t heard from his mother since the tsunami hit.

“It’s been a week now…my Mum lives in Ha’apai which is right next to the volcano, around 15 nieces and nephews are still at our home.”

Fekitoa is currently based in England where he plays for Wasps but adds that, in the meantime, “I’ll do whatever I can to help out [from] here.”

If you are unsure of where to donate, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have published advice and links to help you out.

Click here to view advice on giving.

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