APRIL UPDATE on how your donations have been used in Tonga:
We have been working closely with the Pacific Leadership Forum (particularly chairperson Mr. Teleiai Edwin Puni) to ensure the funds we raise are heading directly to where the most need is. So far, we have purchased a container full of food (rice, noodles, cooking oil, flour, spam) and other necessary items that are en-route to the island of Fonoifua.
Above, you will see Letele, who has family on this badly affected island. We met with her as the container was being packed, and she later sent this message: “I can’t express enough how thankful we are for this support it will put smiles in our families faces to receive these foods donated from you all. May God return the love from the church in 100 fold to support the fantastic work you do to our vulnerable families who are in needs.”
We have also bought $8000 worth of food and sanitary items from 2 local shops on the island of Vaini ("Vaini is the breadbasket of Tonga as one of the largest villages with lots of farm land. Many garden plots and plantations are affected. Furthermore, the village will soon be required to present root crops, food, tapa, mats and material handicrafts in preparation for the installation of the son of our chief as the next Ma’afu. My village was also one of the first hit hard by COVID19 last month. This has meant people had to isolate and not allowed to work or tend to their crops and plantations. The traditional burden of traditional obligations to our chief who will be installed by the King is a huge honour for us but will mean further hardship for our village already struggling."- Pakilau Manase Lua)
In this instance, where we were able to purchase directly from the island, meant we were able to mitigate the shipping and logistic costs while supporting a local Tongan business. Pakilau Manase Lua, who is a Pasifika leader in Aotearoa and has family in Vaini, said this:
"First of all, on behalf of the Vaini community in NZ and our families back home in Vaini, thank you so much for your generosity! My mother and aunty will be stoked to know that this support will be provided for those in need in Vaini. I will ensure that the funds are utilised for the provisions as outlined."
We are also paying for another container that will be leaving from Blenheim in the next few weeks, that will be filled by Tongan families in the South Island who want to send certain goods and items to their family in Tonga (Covid delays have slowed this down).
We are also continuing to work with the PLF to ensure that the most badly affected communities are supported long-term. NZBMS is committed to using 100% of funds from our appeal to sustain wraparound support for Tongan communities in need.
January 17: TONGA
You will know by now the news of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai, the underwater volcano that has erupted near the shores of Tonga, causing large tsunami waves. The local people are in immediate need of clean drinking water and food supplies. The ash from the eruptions have contaminated water tanks and food crops, and fresh water is scarce. Despite the hardships they are facing, the locals continue to hope, pray and sing together.
At times like these, God can use our giving to help our brothers and sisters in the Pacific.
Along with many other organisations, we are also accepting donations for the relief efforts in Tonga. If you wish to give to the NZBMS appeal, then please be assured that 100% of the money given will be passed on to partners who are most effectively working on the ground in Tonga. Donations can be made here- all donations made over the coming week to ‘Where Most Needed’ will go directly to Tonga. Our bank details are also at the bottom of this page.
Clothes & other goods
We understand the generous and heartfelt response that considers sending clothing and other goods. But please don’t!
The NZ Council for International Development say, “After Tropical Cyclone Pam (2015) and Tropical Winston (2016) hundreds of containers filled with unrequested goods like teddy-bears, plastic bottles of water, perishable food and second-hand clothing, and even snow-skies were sent around the Pacific. Much of it ended up in Pacific landfills. Local businesses desperate for customers, were undercut by overseas goods already available locally. Containers took up valuable wharf and then storage space, increasing costs to Pacific countries responding to the cyclone.”
Malo 'Aupito- thank you.
Account name: Tranzsend
Account number: 02-0232-0150075-97
Particulars: Church or Individual name
Reference: For Tonga
Joint statement from the Churches of NZ:
“We are deeply concerned for the people of Tonga, and surrounding areas, following the recent eruption of HungaTonga-Hunga-Ha'apai. Our heartfelt prayers are with those affected and those who are worried about family and friends. We pray for strength and courage in the days and weeks ahead. As churches and organisations we are looking at how we can help and provide practical support. We are working to assist Tongans with water, food, and whatever is needed across Tonga.
Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia (Anglican Missions), Methodist Church of New Zealand, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (Global Missions), The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Baptist Churches of New Zealand, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand and Christian World Service”