Pacific Blog

Tonga Update & where you can donate to help relief efforts

Cover image of families on Mango Island in the Ha'apai group waiting for help after the tsunami hit and destroyed every home. 

Photo credit:  Piokalafi Faka’osi 

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As communication with Tonga is slowly restored, the devastation to the small island nation is becoming more apparent.  

So far the oficial fatality number remains at three and Digicel has been able to restore limited international voice and text connectivity via a satellite connection.  US cable company SubCom has advised that the best case scenario is four weeks for the cable to be repaired, with the repair ship expected to arrive in Tonga 1 February.

The tsunami is estimated to have impacted around 1800+ household's food supply across Tonga - most affected areas have had plantations and crops completely destroyed and basic food items are needed.  Flour, tinned fish, milk powder etc ...  Due to the seawater seeping into the soil it's expected to take about 3 months before anything can be grown on affected areas.

The governement have also advised against fishing or consuming any fish.…more


Whats New?

Collection for Tonga underway today in Auckland

via Radio New Zealand 

Three shipping containers are being set up at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium to be filled with donations for Tonga today.

The Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee is organising the relief effort and plans to collect and ship food and emergency supplies donated mainly by people with family of those living in Tonga.

People can donate food and emergency supplies at Mt Smart stadium from 9am to 8pm on Friday and Saturday.

Priority will be given to people with family in Tonga, with each family being allocated a 44-gallon drum to send.

Items being asked for are non-perishable foods like rice, canned meat, as well as water, small cooking utensils, batteries and torches.

Comittee Secretary, Pakilau Manase Lua said the Tongan government would prioritise distributing goods to the worst affected islands like Mango, Atata, Nomuka, Fonoifua.

He said the relief effort was giving many Tongan families in New Zealand a chance to turn worry into action while they wait to re-connect with loved ones.…more


Pacific Blog

Vodafone Foundation/Red Cross Tsunami Appeal

The Vodafone Foundation have set up a 'Give a Little' page for the Tongan tsunami appeal, raising funds to support NZ Red Cross relief efforts in Tonga and the Pacific following the Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano eruption and tsunami

Both Vodafone NZ and the Vodafone Foundation will match donations up to $200,000 - so for every $10 donated, $30 will go to help those affected, up to $600,000.

These funds will be used to support Red Cross to provide families with emergency supplies of food, water and hygiene kits.  These are vital given much of the water and food supply has been polluted by volcanic ash. Shelter tool kits, tarpaulins, blankets and other essentials are also being distributed.…more


Sports

Halberg Awards - Ruby Tui, Ross Taylor & the Black Ferns Sevens finalists for Best Sporting Moment

The finalists for New Zealand's favourite sporting moment at the Halberg Awards have been announced and 6 of our Pacific Islanders are finalists.

* Black Cap Ross Taylor for hitting the winning runs to secure the inaugural ICC World Test Cricket Championship for New Zealand against India at Southampton.  

* The Black Ferns Sevens winning Gold at the Tokyo Olympics - Team mates Ruby Tui, Alena Saili, Risaleaana Pouri-Lane, Theresa Fitzpatrick & Shiray Kaka are of Pacific Islands heritage.

* Black Fern Ruby Tui's post game interview with the BBC after the Black Ferns win over the Russian Olympic Committee went viral at the time (watch above) 

“New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment is a popular part of the awards for both the athletes and fans. We are sure it will create much interest and involvement from the public, who will decide the winner,” Halberg Foundation chief executive Shelley McMeeken said in a statement.

The public can vote once-a-day HERE. Voting closes at 9pm on February 23rd


Pacific Blog

A call on banks and business to drop fees in support of Tonga response

The umbrella organisation for New Zealand’s aid agencies, Council for International Development is calling on banks and money transfer businesses to drop (or reduce) any bank fees as Tongan New Zealanders mobilise to send funds to support Tonga following the eruption.

Remittances play a critical role following an emergency in the Pacific. “The most urgent need in times of crisis is money, not stuff. No other type of donation can match its impact,” says Aaron Davy, Humanitarian Manager at Council for International Development.

“We urge banks and money-transference businesses to support humanitarian responses, by temporarily wavering transaction costs or keeping them at zero or less than 3% during an emergency response and removing bureaucratic barriers for already stressed families trying to send cash to family overseas.”

Kiwibank NZ have already responded, removing fees to send money to Tonga - 

 How to send cash safely:

* Donate to a trusted humanitarian organisation in New Zealand.…more


Sports

Sonny Bill Williams vs. Barry Hall Press Conference Highlights

Sonny Bill Williams vs Barry Hall boxing match has officially been confirmed for the 23rd of March.

Cross code super star Sonny Bill Williams will take on former AFL star Barry Hall in 8, 3 minute rounds at Sydney's International Convention Centre.  Their approaches couldn't be more different but come fight night they both will want the same thing.

Both fighters are convinced that come March 23, they will be leaving the ring victorious.

After the press conference Sonny flew out to the UK where he was invited to train with Tyson Fury and Joseph Parker.


Pacific Blog

How to donate responsibly to the Tonga eruption response

Following the eruption of the Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Saturday evening, family, friends, the Pacific community and many around the world have started mobilising to organise fundraising events and support for the Kingdom of Tonga.

While New Zealand NGO's wait for official damage reports, the re-establishment of communications with their partner organisations and colleagues in Tonga is a priority.

The Council for International Development (Umbrella organisation for New Zealand's aid charities) have put together some resources on how to best support the Kingdom of Tonga 

They have pre-positioned humanitarian stock within the region which means they are ready to support impacted communities as a matter of urgency. Any response will be coordinated with the New Zealand government’s response, and risks associated with the covid pandemic are also factored in.

Click here for Pacific language fact sheets – Cook Islands Maori, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Bislama (Vanuatu), Tuvalu, Tonga, Kiribati.  

Tongan language fact sheets below: 

They encourage New Zealanders and the Pacific community who would like to help to donate money rather than send stuff that may not be needed.…more


Sports

Bankstown Kid: The Story of Jordan Mailata

Learn more about one of the most incredible success stories in NFL history: Australian Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata's journey to the NFL via rugby and the International Player Pathway Program.

Click through on the link above to watch on Youtube 


Sports

STEVEN ADAMS - Talks Memphis Trade, ZBo Drama, & More

Memphis Grizzlies newest member Steven Adams joins Chris Vernon during Memphis Grizzlies Media Day to talk about the Pelicans trade for Jonas Valanciunas, address the beef with Zach Randolph in Game 6 of the 2014 Western Conference Playoffs, playing rugby in New Zealand, Aquaman comparisons, the change in the big man center role over the years spanning to his time in OKC, and more!


Sports

Jordan Mailata Mic'd Up

Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jordan Mailata has the mic for this week's edition of Audible.