Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, has concluded her visit to Tonga, announcing a multi-million dollar health partnership with the Pacific nation.
“As a country in and of the Pacific, New Zealand has done all we can to assist our Pacific whānau prepare and navigate through various COVID-19 outbreaks,” Minister Mahuta said.
“While this has been challenging at times, particularly through our ongoing domestic response, we remain committed to our Pacific partners.”
The Minister said a new partnership between New Zealand and Tonga would see $4.8m in funding provided over the next four years to further strengthen resilience and develop Tonga’s health workforce.
“Under the new partnership, Massey University will help Tonga plan for service needs, train staff, and allocate healthcare workers to where they are most needed,” she said.
“In Tonga, New Zealand are proud to be key partners in the health sector. We stand firmly alongside the Tongan health workforce as it manages COVID-19 and recovers from January’s Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption and tsunami,” Ms Mahuta said.
In response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aotearoa New Zealand has provided COVID-19 vaccines, testing kits, testing facilities and genomic sequencing, and technical support to Tonga.
The Foreign Minister has concluded her official visit to Tonga, meeting with:
- His Majesty King Tupou IV
- Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni
- Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu,
- Minister of Trade and Economic Development, Hon Viliami Uasike Latu
- Minister of Health, Dr Saia Piukala.
During the visit, Ms Mahuta also announced developments in Exercise Tropic Twilight, hosted a resilience in diversity women’s event with community and non-governmental organisations, and launched Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate finance strategy.