Tonga earns US$45m a year from seasonal work

The Minister of Internal Affairs 'Akosita Lavulavu made the statement at the recent presentation for a programme for former seasonal workers who were interested in starting businesses in Tonga.

Mrs Lavulavu told Radio Tonga the Ministry was willing to invest in similar programs to help seasonal workers living in communities in the outer islands as well.

Bea Duffield from Australian Business Volunteers who facilitated the training said the programme was important and could help participants and contribute to the local economy.

Tongan lawyer calls Government to deal with high rates of violence

King Tupou VI attended the National Day of Prayer in Nuku'alofa last week following a spate of brutal attacks and the gruesome murder of six people.

Sione Fonua says drugs and alcohol are at the heart of the high crime rates but Government and Police are at loggerheads over the Police Commissioner's role.

"The drug problem here in Tonga is uncontrollable and the Commissioner of Police is trying his best with the little resources that he has to fight that," he says.

Tonga says it is still in PACER Plus

The deal was signed in Nuku’alofa last June by 10 countries including Australia, New Zealand and Tonga.

Last week, Matangi Tonga reported that 'Akilisi Pohiva admitted that the agreement was found to be inappropriate for Tonga and the country was no longer a signatory.

However Kaniva News now quotes him as saying he did not make that statement nor did he say anything that even suggested, or could be translated or interpreted, that Tonga was no longer a signatory to PACER Plus.

Tonga secure big guns as Fifita makes rep switch

In a huge boost for international rugby league and Tonga's rapid development as a challenger to the game's traditional heavyweights, Fifita has revealed a pact instigated by Taumalolo after last year's surprise World Cup finals charge convinced him to rule himself out of Australian and NSW Blues contention.

Fifita said he and Taumalolo had reaffirmed their commitment to the Mata Ma'u during a meeting with Tonga coach Kristian Woolf in North Queensland before last month's round-one clash between the Sharks and the North Queensland Cowboys.

Dengue affecting 124 people in Tonga so far this year

Supervising Public Health Inspector, Sela Fa'u, said despite the numbers being on the rise, admissions to the health centres and the hospital were falling.

The recorded cases were on the main island of Tongatapu and in Vava'u, Ha'apai and on 'Eua.

Radio Tonga reported the youngest patient with dengue fever was an infant while the eldest was about 70.

A national campaign to clean up possible mosquito breeding sites ended this week.



Tonga's Tu'ivakano likely to face more charges

Kaniva Pacific reported he was also expected to face additional counts relating to the unlawful possession of a firearm.

Tu'ivakano appeared at the Fasi Magistrate court this week and is to reappear on 26 April.

Crown prosecutor 'Aminasi Kefu asked for the delay so police could prepare additional information.



Tongan documentary about transgender minority to premiere in London

The film titled Leitis in Waiting officially launches a human rights impact campaign across the Commonwealth before the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting CHOGM 2018.

It follows the journey of Joey Matele, who is a devout Catholic of noble descent, living her life in Tonga as a transgender person and some of the increasing prejudices and challenges she and others like her face.

The film is a collaboration between the filmmakers, Tonga Leitis Association, and the Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network.


Tongan female boxer aims for gold

Megan Maka won gold for New Zealand at the Melbourne Expo International in 2014 and silver at the Four Nations in Auckland the same year. 

The head of Tonga's Sports Olympic Committee Takitoa Taumoepeau says the 24-year-old will be one of the first women to box for Tonga in the Commonwealth Games.

Team Tonga left for Gold Coast last night.



Tonga Education Minister sticking with rugby boxing ban

The comment came after his ministry announced a ban on girls playing rugby or boxing at Tonga High School - one of the main government schools in the country.

Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva has since issued a statement that said all Tongans should be encouraged to participate and there should be no discrimination in any sports.

But the Education Minister Penisimani Fifita is not budging and has blamed any negative reactions on cultural differences.

"So you are talking from a different culture to a different culture," he said.

NZ Immigration launches annual Pacific Access

The Samoan Quota and the Pacific Access Category resident visas allow for a number of people from five Pacific countries to be selected for New Zealand residence each year, provided they meet the necessary requirements.

Each year up to 1100 Samoan citizens, 250 Tongan and Fijian citizens and 75 Kiribati and Tuvaluan citizens can be selected by ballot to be considered, but a number of applicants who do win a place often have to forfeit it after failing to secure an acceptable job offer.