South Auckland churches aid Tonga after Gita

Churches send relief to Tonga to recover from Gita

South Auckland churches hopes to send eight shipping containers’ worth of aid to help Tonga cope with the devastation of cyclone Gita.

Cyclone Gita’s destruction prompted the Lotofale’ia church in Māngere to co-ordinate relief efforts for Tonga for a third time.

Organiser, Sefita Haouli, says the congregation aims to send $60,000 worth of perishable goods.

They’ll pack the goods into eight shipping containers and send them to Tonga by this week.

They hope the much-needed supplies will reach the Tonga by early March, Haouli says.

“Tongans are living day-to-to-day. By the time that food runs out our supplies should get there”.

Tongan New Zealanders

More than 60,000 New Zealanders have Tongan ancestry.

More than 46,000 of them live in Auckland.

Haouli says Tongans, including Kiwi ones, are “three degrees away from knowing each other”.

They are deeply affected by Tonga’s latest cyclone.

“Everybody has family in Tonga,” he says.

“It’s definitely the worst storm they’ve seen in a generation, the biggest since 1961,” he says.

“In many ways this is predictable because climate change has brought disaster to us only too frequently, this is our third storm over the last 10 years.”

The effort has brought together all south Auckland communities and faiths.

Companies including Coca Cola have helped ship the goods to the country 2000km away.

The soft drink company has donated sealable steel drums, while renowned ex-All Black Michael Jones has paid to truck and ship the containers to Tonga, Haouli says.

He says more relief consignments to recover from Gita will follow Thursday’s shipment.

“Without that we wouldn’t be able to do this”.

Alongside all the action, plenty of prayers have been said, too.

“It’s gear and prayer together that makes this happen.”


  • Stuff
  • Image credit: Stuff


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