Monday, December 4, 2023

Tongan communities band together

Members of Oamaru’s Waitaki Tongan Community Trust have rolled up their sleeves to help provide support to the Kingdom of Tonga following the devastating volcanic eruption last month.

Spokesperson for the Trust, Katalina Veituna says it has been a worrying time for local Tongan families as communications in Tonga were knocked out following the eruption.

“All our Tongan families were deeply impacted by it and I think it goes out to all our people around the world,” Ms Veituna said. 

She said families are desperate to send drums of supplies in containers via ships traveling to Tonga, such as those sent by the Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee recently. 

“Our Committee has met and discussed how we support our local families, and due to limited finance, the first phase we need to action is to raise funds to pay for shipping containers and freight costs,” she said.

Springing into action, Trust President Livai Veituna is seeking assistance to send the containers, while the Committee has been busy got to work organising fundraisers as well as appealing to the public for their help, on social media.  

Last weekend, the Trust held a car wash, and will host car washes every Saturday until the end of February. 

“We felt the love from our wider community and also our Tongan people came to help wash the cars,” Ms Veituna says. 

“Many people came into donate money even without us having to wash their cars – they were asking about our future fundraising events…we’re very grateful for their huge support.”   

Currently, the Trust Committee is considering fundraisers such as sausage sizzles, selling raffle tickets, distributing flyers and working collaboratively with local businesses, employers and other Pacific group to gain support for the Tonga relief response. 

If you would like to support Waitaki Tongan Community Trust raise funds to help rebuild Tonga, visit HERE.

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