The impact of Cyclone Gita has created a whirl of activity in Auckland recently particularly for the most damaged country — the Kingdom of Tonga.
Sir Michael Jones has been at the forefront as General Manager of Matson Shipping – he has donated 12 containers to members of the Tongan Community to ship goods home.
The New Zealand Tonga Business Council has converted its annual bowls event this year called the Bowling Stones (apologies to Mick and Keef!) to a fundraising event featuring an auction. This is being held at the Grafton Bowling Club on Thursday 15th March at 5pm for teams of four and there are still some places available through Christine Connon email@example.com
The University of Otago Auckland Alumni Chairman Alistair Ward called a meeting of invited CEOs in Auckland and discussed both a longer term sustainability project and focused support for their employees in country.
PTI Auckland have announced that they will be running a campaign for donations at their Path to Market Pasifika Business Market at the Pasifika Festival at Western Springs on the 24th and 25th March. PTI have 40 companies from 11 Pacific Island Countries participating in the weeklong capability programme and they will all be exhibiting at Pasifika.
Tevita Lautaha from the Ministry of Commerce from Tonga visited PTI as part of their Agriculture marketing programme which is part of the Path to Market programme and said it was too early to determine the damage to Tongan root crops caused by the flooding due to Cyclone Gita.
Cassava, Yams and Taro were all subject to rots if left underwater too long. The next two weeks will be critical. He said many houses had lost their roofs and that roofing materials would be an important donation.
Clearly needs would change over time but Mr Lautaha highlighted the need for food products such as flour, noodles, rice, sugar and canned fish. Dengue fever is also a high potential risk but he emphasised the need for people who wish to donate perhaps give cash through churches and NGOs rather than send clothing at this stage.
Cyclone Gita was this week discussed at the executive meeting of Samoa Trade and Investment Commission (STIC) and no fundraising activity is planned for Samoa. To date, the Commission had received no formal requests for support from Samoa. However, a number of offers had been passed on to the Tonga Business Council.
Links to organisations collecting donations for Cyclone Gita Relief funds in Tonga: