Tongan MP says state of emergency doesn't make sense

Last Monday the government extended the state of emergency that has been in force since Cyclone Gita hit the country five weeks ago.

Police also said they would continue to enforce a curfew around the Nuku'alofa CBD.

Local operators and the Chamber of Commerce have complained about the negative financial impact on businesses and their employees.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni agreed the extension was holding the recovery back for some.

He said the government had not given a satisfactory reason for the move.

Catholic Church future in Tonga depends on faith

“For me, ours is a journey along the path to growth in finding real joy in ‘being who we are’, and even in the beauty of just being alive,” Cardinal Mafi told Catholic Outlook in New south Wales.

“In other words, we ‘shine out’ in being ‘simple’.”

Richness in faith, love and joy gave beauty to many of the poorer Tongan families.

Emotions run high as bodies of murdered couple return to China

Victorina Kioa told Kaniva News she met the couple’s funeral procession on the road Thursday afternoon.

“I was on my way back from USP after dropping my kids off. I just parked by the roadside while I was in tears.  So sad,” she said.

The bodies of Mr and Mrs Wen were found with stab wounds in a bush allotment in Matafonua on 25 February, 2018.

Police have arrested and charged two teenagers, aged 15 years and 17 years for the alleged murder of the Wens.

Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva had earlier paid a tribute to the couple.

Grant from ILO for Tonga Gita victims

The grant agreement has been signed by the Ministry of Labour CEO, Edgar Cocker, for the first batch of the Community-Based Emergency Employment pilot programme.

Mr Cocker said the objective was to support those who had lost income and to improve food security.

The Nukunuku district officer Sione Kata said many people in 'Utulau earned money from selling produce.

Mr Kata said the financial assistance would help the growers to get back on their feet following the storm.


At least 70 cases of dengue in Tonga

Supervising Public Health Inspector, Sela Fa'u, says a cleaning up campaign is underway and officials are working to destroy mosquito breeding areas in villages where the victims of dengue fever live.

They are focusing on swampy areas in the central district.

Ms Fa'u says it is important for people to practice hygienic lifestyles during the recovering period from last month's Cyclone Gita, in an effort to control the spread of dengue.

Tonga declared a dengue outbreak following the death of a 12-year-old New Zealand girl in the kingdom in late January.

Tonga's health minister appointed to global NCD commission

As one of the commissioners, Saia Piukala, will help raise awareness of the issues and experiences of NCDs in the Pacific.

The Commission was launched by the WHO last month and comprises heads of state, ministers, leaders in health and development and entrepreneurs.

Of the 37 members in the Western Pacific Region, Tonga and Singapore have had commissioners appointed.

The region has some of the highest NCD rates with cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancers accounting for more than 80 percent of deaths there.

Tongan businessman hits out against curfew

Last month Tonga was hit by Cyclone Gita and this week prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva announced an extension of a related state of emergency until 9 April.

Police are also continuing to enforce a curfew, making sure no one is out after 10pm or before 5am.

But Tausinga Taumoefolau, who owns a cafe and an ice cream parlour in the CBD, said the curfew was hurting business and not helping people recover from the cyclone.

Food quality, education concerns weeks after Gita hit Tonga

Health officials have inspected 48 shops on the island of Tongatapu, and found more than 20 have food items no longer fit for human consumption.

About two tonnes of meat products have been disposed of because they were not fit to be eaten.

Crops have also been severely affected. 55 hectares of cassava plantation and 15,000 coconut trees have been destroyed, according to the assessment.

Meanwhile, an education report says nearly 300 students need help getting to school, after some schools were moved to other locations.


Tonga govt meet with AG to improve relationship

In a statement Akilisi Pohiva said he had met Attorney General Aminiasi Kefu "to seek a common pathway forward".

The meeting also involved the Justice Minister Vuna Fa'otusia and the Police Minister Mateni Tapueluelu.

Mr Pohiva's government and Mr Kefu have clashed over a number of issues in the past year, including last August's dissolution of parliament, the royal Privy Council, the Constitution and more recently the arrest of two MPs on separate fraud-related charges.

The first female land surveyor in Tonga

Did she choose this profession or did the profession choose her?

According to the 23 year old, her biggest inspiration in achieving this success came from her father, who was also a land surveyor.

‘Growing up seeing my dad inspired me so much, just by seeing him do the type of work he used to carry out so seeing him I just had so much interest in surveying, because his whole life he was a surveyor as well, he worked for the government, so seeing my dad drove the interest in me in surveying’, she said.