Tonga confirms repatriation flights

The flight from Auckland is scheduled to arrive on 2 June while the flight from Brisbane, will arrive the day after.

Chief Executive of Tonga's Government Communications, Paula Ma'u, told local media the Brisbane flight is the first under Australia's Pacific Flight Programme and is not chartered by the employers of seasonal workers, as was the case for previous flights.

Meanwhile, the repatriation flight from Fiji that was planned for the first week of June was not confirmed, due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.


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Pasifika ministers won't 'isolate' church-goers for refusal of COVID-19 vaccine

It comes as nine ministers from the Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Kerisiano Samoa (EFKS) Synod were in line to take their first jab at the Otara Vaccination Centre.

EFKS Sandringham minister Reverend Featunai Liuaana says he’s talked with his congregation about the possible consequences of not taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We don’t isolate them, we try to get everybody else to be vaccinated, but at least there’s protection there for those who have been vaccinated.

Tonga schedules 2 repatriation flights for May

A meeting between the National Emergency Management Committee and the COVID-19 Committee confirmed that there is a repatriation flight from Auckland next week.

The second flight is from American Samoa.

Chief Executive Officer of MEIDECC Paula Ma’u said two repatriation flights scheduled to arrive from Fiji and Brisbane next month have been postponed until further notice.

According to Mau, the postponement is because Fiji has closed its border due to new cases of COVID–19 and the variant is same as the one found in India.

Auckland's Polyfest allows students to take 'first step' in their cultural journey

For many students, this year’s ASB Polyfest was their first chance to embrace their heritage on the grandest stage of them all.

With the Samoan and Tongan stages kicking off, it was natural some had butterflies.

"It feels good but I’m nervous at the same time," says a Year 7 St Peter's College Samoan student.

While for others, their competitive side was on show.

A Tongan student at Sacred Heart College says he joined the group to "make history, take home the dub and rep the culture".

Armed police respond to gunfire reports at Auckland's Sofitel hotel

Police say they were called to an address on Viaduct Harbour Avenue shortly after 9am today.

They say there were no reported injuries. Armed police are at the scene.

A friend of a Sofitel worker says a gunman entered the lobby firing.

A man who works near the Sofitel says he witnessed a man being arrested by at least eight police officers.

And a guest who was staying at the hotel told RNZ they heard two loud bangs.

The guest was staying for two nights and said he was sitting in the hotel restaurant when he heard the bangs.

Oceania Healthcare plans $100 million expansion

The company is buying the Waterford complex on Hobsonville Point in Auckland which comprises of 64 independent living villas and 36 independent living apartments.

It is also buying 6.1 hectares of land in Franklin, South Auckland, part of which has a care-only facility on it. Oceania planned to develop an integrated village, with housing and care facilities.

2 Bloods gang killers of innocent Tongan man sentenced in Auckland

Janeiro Tapusoa, 28, pleaded guilty to murder one month before the three-week jury trial last year. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years and one month.

Leroy Tinei, 27, was found guilty of murder at trial, and has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 11 years and four months.

Samiuela Tupou’s family attended Wednesday’s sentencing, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Auckland’s Pasifika festival postponed to April

The festival was originally planned to start this weekend at Western Springs Park but will now take place on 10-11 April at Mt Smart stadium.

“I look forward to attending Pasifika this year and enjoying all the performances, music, art, culture and heritage and the festival offers,” says Goff.

Richard Clarke, the Auckland Unlimited Head of Major Events says: “Pasifika festival is a hugely popular celebration of our region’s Pacific communities, and we are determined to give ourselves every opportunity to deliver a great and safe event this year.

New street name honours Tongan family in Auckland

Two other new street names were Baitful Lane and Herenga Way.

Roskill Development webpage said the new names were decided after huge supports from the community.

Auckland enters Covid-19 alert level 3

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement at a briefing at 9pm last night saying that the alert level changes would come in from 6am today and would be in place for seven days.

She said Cabinet would assess the alert levels but it was likely that Auckland would remain in alert level 3 for the full seven days.

Ardern said the announcement comes after two new Covid-19 community cases that could not be directly linked to earlier cases.