Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni

Pacific Mission: Importance of climate resilience highlighted in Tonga

Mele, who is from the village of Ha’atafa in Tongatapu, recounts the lasting impact left by the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in January last year.

It triggered tsunami waves of up to 15m which struck the west coast of Tongatapu, ’Eua and Ha’apai reports Tagata Pasifika.

Addressing Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni’s Pacific delegation in Tonga this week, Mele says her people continue to show resilience and that she is humbled that her village has been chosen to launch the Pacific Climate Resilience and Tree Planting programme.

First mission to the Pacific since Covid-19 led by New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni

Sepuloni, who is also the Associate Foreign Affairs Minister for the Pacific, left for Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga on Sunday.

It would be an invaluable opportunity to strengthen New Zealand’s relationships and reaffirm the commitment to working alongside Pacific whānau to respond to challenges, Sepuloni said.

The region was the government’s “foreign policy priority”, Sepuloni said.

“We proudly take a Pacific-led approach to solving the issues facing the region, not least to mention, climate change.

Carmel Sepuloni's deputy PM appointment symbolic for NZ, Pacific leaders say

RNZ reports incoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins - who is taking over the reins from Jacinda Ardern just nine months away from the general elections - chose Carmel Sepuloni as his deputy yesterday.

She also made history 15 years ago when she became New Zealand's first Tongan MP.

Reverend Setaita Veikune of the Methodist Church of NZ told Morning Report the Kelston MP's would serve as an inspiration for the younger generation, particularly girls.