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Rebuilding Tonga one car wash at a time  

Rebuilding Tonga one car wash at a time  

  • 31 Jan 2022
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  • Tonga
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(Picture caption: Community members of all ages get to work to raise funds for the Tonga relief effort.)

When the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai underwater volcano erupted it caused much devastation to not only the Kingdom of Tonga and its people, but anxiety and stress for family members across the globe. 

Spokesperson for the Oamaru-based Waitaki Tongan Community Trust, Katalina Veituna, says it has been a worrying time for local Tongan families as communications were down and it took a long time for people to hear from their loved ones in Tonga. 

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

Families are desperate to send drums of supplies in containers via ships traveling to Tonga, such as the ones Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee organised to be sent from Auckland last week.   

“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.” 

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,” Katalina 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.