Repatriation flight

Tongan seasonal worker thrilled to be going home at last

Sefita Veamatahau says the news that he and dozens of others are heading home tomorrow is indescribable.

“I’m thrilled and I can’t explain my feelings. I’m very excited to go home,” he says.

"I have a wife and a son that I haven’t seen in a very long time.”

Veamatahau has spent two Christmases away from home since arriving in New Zealand in October 2019, and is looking forward to spending time with his family. 

He's one of seventy Tongan seasonal workers who will be on that flight to Tonga tomorrow.

First group of Tokelauans repatriated since start of Covid-19 pandemic

The trip is expected to be one of the happiest for the islanders who set sail from Samoa on Wednesday and are relieved they will be home for Christmas.

The group had arrived in Apia on a repatriation flight from New Zealand on 13 November.

But they had to spend an extra week in isolation in Samoa on top of the required 14 days after a passenger on the same flight tested positive for Covid-19.

Some of the 33 people who are undergoing yet another 14 days quarantine on their home atolls of Fakaofo and Nukunonu have been stuck in New Zealand since March.

Tonga Health Ministry clears passengers repatriated from Christchurch

The passengers have been released from the Tanoa Hotel after completing 14 days of quarantine since arriving in Tonga, and are now spending one week in home quarantine “for added safety as our usual practice”.

The next repatriation flights are scheduled this week for 29 and 30 October from Brisbane and Auckand.

Dr 'Akau'ola confirmed the total number of passengers to be repatriated from Brisbane and Auckland later this week have increased from 200 to 230.

“Total numbers were planned to be 80 from Brisbane and 120 from Auckland,” he said.

26 Tongan nationals on repatriation flight in quarantine

The flight was chartered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to bring back missionaries, university students and citizens who were stranded in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. 

All passengers were required to produce a medical certificate from a doctor before boarding the aircraft last Saturday. 

Returning passengers will be tested for COVID-19 at Tanoa International Dateline Hotel.  

They are undergoing 14 days of quarantine at the hotel followed by one-week home quarantine. 

Air India Covid repatriation flight breaks in two during crash landing

The flight was repatriating Indians stranded by the coronavirus crisis.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "pained by the plane accident".

The rescue operation at the crash site has now been completed and survivors have been taken to hospitals in Calicut and Malappuram, according to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Dozens of people were injured, 15 of them seriously, a senior police officer said.

Air India Express said the two pilots were among the dead.

Tonga prepares for second NZ repatriation flight

The NEMC also discussed a few process concerns as members are now anticipated to bring the second repatriation flight from New Zealand later this month.

The Chairman of the NEMC, Poasi Tei acknowledged the NEMC members and staff for the hard work in bringing back the first 150 repatriated passengers from New Zealand on Tuesday.

“I would like to thank all of you for the work well done and your tireless support to bring back our first 150 passengers from NZ and also the safety of our people. Even though there were challenges but it all went well in the end.”

Tongans trapped in New Zealand since the start of lockdown are finally going home

It is the first Air NZ repatriation flight of Tongans since border restrictions were introduced.

Air New Zealand Senior Manager of Pacific Islands Brent Roxburgh said many Tongans have been stuck in NZ since the beginning of the pandemic earlier this year.

“Air New Zealand is pleased to be working closely with the Tongan government to help facilitate those wanting to return home,” said Roxburgh.

Body of deceased Tongan nurse to return home on repatriation flight from New Zealand

Pafilio ‘Amato was in Auckland for treatment while battling cancer but he died on Wednesday, 29 August.

His family announced the news in a Facebook post.

“Pafilio was tormented by cancer illness for few months and today He is desire to depart and be with the Lord, which is better by far. Hundreds of families and friends are heartbreaking by your gone but we do sure you are in a better place of no more pain!” the post read.

Amato who worked at Vaiola Hospital was 30 years old.

Doctors, civil servants, RSE workers and patients priority on first flight from Auckland to Tonga

Health CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola said passengers would include doctors, nurses, police, soldiers, public servants including one Government CEO, who all remain on the government pay roll.

They were  being given priority because they were  needed in Tonga to support the repatriation work.

Kaniva News reports seasonal workers who are experiencing social issues and stranded travelers would also be included.

Tongans with health problems who had been treated in New Zealand were also considered.

Tongan RSE workers to finally get flight home

The first plane load of Tongan seasonal workers being repatriated from New Zealand is due to leave on Tuesday and those travelling needed to show at departure they were free of the coronavirus.

The liaison for the Tongan RSE workers, Sefita Hao'uli, said there would be up to 70 workers, among a total of 140 going home.

He said there were about 1700 other Tongan RSE workers remaining, but the people chosen for this flight had the most pressing cases.