New house for family after Cyclone Gita

A family whose home in Tongatapu was destroyed when Cyclone Gita hit earlier this year are eagerly awaiting the completion of their new house.  The family of 5 children, mother and grandmother had been living in an army tent several months.  But building materials donated with the help of Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand and other New Zealand companies have been used in the new house.

Lucy’s new house built with resources from her employer and local and overseas donors.

Lucy, who is divorced, her elderly diabetic mother and children were grateful for new home built with the help of her employer, Minoru Nishi of Nishi Trading, a small group and resources from overseas and local donors.

Nishi Trading, is one of Tonga’s leading exporters on the island of Tongatapu, some 300 acres of plantation were destroyed along with the buildings, packhouse and other infrastructure.  Although his home is also still under repair, it was important to help the family first.

The family’s new two-bedroom house with veranda will take around three weeks to fully complete.  Although there is no shower or toilet because the sanitation is dependent on getting more funding. Mr Nishi says Lucy and her family are very lucky and feel grateful for the support they have received.  The house was built with private support from various people and organisations including Nishi who also provided extras for the family.

Lucy’s house was reduced to this after Cyclone Gita.

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand worked with the Auckland chapter of the University of Otago Alumni Association to help send over building materials. Lucy’s home is the first completed home using the donated Hardie Flex to line the internal walls.  PTI NZ Trade & Investment Commissioner Michael Greenslade, a member of the association, assisted the group of alumni associated with the building and logistics industry to acquire the materials and arrange freight shipment to Tonga. (Read story here).

“We want to extend our sincere thank you to all who contributed to this initiative. We hope others will join in the kind of warmth to help a needy families.”

Lucy lived in this temporary tent house since the cyclone devastated her home.

“There is not much time left before the cyclone season, so we as a nation must prioritise what is more important…that is, the safety of our people after Gita,” Mr Nishi said.

For more information email PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at

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