Tonga’s defence against Pacific Games Council lawsuit in process, says government

Lōpeti Senituli did not give further details about the claim by the Council yesterday that the government did not file its defence in time.

Acting Attorney General ‘Aminiasi Kefu said his “Office is not handling this matter for Government.”

“The Prime Minister’s Office has engaged outside counsel,” he said.

Pacific Games Council’s Chief Executive, Andrew Minogue reportedly said the council would call for a legal judgement to be made in their favour.

Tonga govt late to respond to Pacific Games Council lawsuit

The Council and Tonga's Olympic Committee began the action against the government in May for damages incurred due to the belated withdrawal from hosting the 2019 Games.

RNZ Pacific understands that once the Summons of Writ was issued, the government had 28 days to respond.

The lawyer for the plaintiffs, William Edwards, said he filed the claim on May 25 and the government's representative indicated a response would be made by July 6.

Sunshine powers Tonga hospital

Principal energy officer Kipola So'otanga said the hospital had previously been powered by a generator which only gave it power for six hours each day.

King Tupou VI commissioned the new system for when he visited the island for its Agricultural Show last week.

Equipment such as electric fans, refrigerators, lights and others can operate through the system, Mr So'otanga said.

A team from the Energy Department was also replacing existing solar home lighting in 122 households in Niuafo'ou, with the new units having a lifespan of 10 years.

20 Tongans set to receive Project Management Certification

USAID is sponsoring the course as part of its partnership with the University of the South Pacific (USP) /Pacific Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Department.

Twenty participants, including nine women, are attending the five-month course to strengthen their management skills to coordinate and implement #DisasterResilience projects.

Samoa aim for clean sweep

That makes Tonga’s job in today’s closing match a tough one with the hosts having to overcome the disappointment of not being able to follow in the U-19 side’s footsteps and replace it with the fervour that comes with winning in front of home fans.

But first local fans will be treated to a face-off between Cook Islands and American Samoa, two sides who have been seen off by Samoa, and held equal standing with Tonga.

Tongan NGO targets ways to avoid post-cyclone stress

Ma'a Fafine Moe Famili is an organisation that works with women and families and in the aftermath of the storm targeted assisting the elderly and those with disabilities.

The group has been allocated new funding to provide psychosocial support for people who are dealing with the loss of property and homes.

The organisation's head, Betty Hafoka-Blake, told RNZ they are involved with and have been counselling around 200 families.

Hafoka-Blake said they find a lot of people depressed and unhappy because of the great loss.

Taufatofua to make waves at third Olympics

The 34-year-old first made global headlines with a shirtless entrance as Tonga's flagbearer at the 2016 Summer Games, a feat he repeated at the Winter Games in South Korea earlier this year.

Pictures of the half-naked athlete went viral, prompting his claim to have broken the internet.

After representing his country in taekwondo and cross-country skiing, Pita Taufatofua said he planned to take up another sport in time for Tokyo 2020.

"One of the biggest things I do is I set dreams which are impossible and then find a way to get there," he said.

Tongan double Olympian becomes child advocate

In a ceremony in Tonga on Tuesday, Mr Taufatofua was signed up as Pacific Ambassador by the UN Children's agency, UNICEF.

The former youth counsellor and qualified engineer represented Tonga at the 2016 Olympics and then the winter Olympics earlier this year.

Mr Taufatofua said he would promote three main things as ambassador.

Miss Vaheloto, Kaina Henderson crowned Tonga’s Miss Galaxy

Henderson was one of the 12 contestants for the annual pageant which celebrates creativity and diversity amongst Tonga’s LGBT fakaleiti community.

During the week-long event, contestants participated in a public judging, paid courtesy calls at various institutions and luncheons.

On the final night, they were judged on 3 final categories including galaxy wear, own talent and evening gown.

Early last week, children admitted at the Vaiola Hospital were treated to a special day with the contestants who donated $1000 TOP to the ward.

Tonga coach gives pass mark to draft calendar

The proposal from the NRL includes a new Oceania Cup to be played next year between New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji.

Two separate Four Nations tournaments could also be played in 2020, with Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa in one and England, France, Fiji and Papua New Guinea in the other.

Kristian Woolf said he was encouraged by last week's announcement, even though he only found out via the media.